Columbia College Chicago

Science and Mathematics Fall 2019 Colloquium Series: "How Feces Saves Species: Studying the Black Rhinoceros"

"How Feces Saves Species: Studying the Black Rhinoceros"

Presented by: Dr. Rachel M. Santymire, Director, Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology, Lincoln Park Zoo


Non-invasive fecal hormone analysis is an effective method for monitoring and increasing our knowledge of the health and reproductive success of wild and zoo populations. For critically endangered and slow breeding species, it is important to understand the factors that limit population growth. Addo Elephant National Park (AENP) has 70% of South Africa’s southwestern subspecies of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis bicornis). For 3 years, we used non-invasive field techniques for monitoring hormonal activity in black rhinos from two sections of AENP. Camera traps were placed at rhino middens to identify individuals and facilitate sample collection. Feces was analyzed for reproductive and stress hormonal patterns. Results demonstrate that rhinos in the section of AENP with the highest number of elephants and tourists had higher (P<0.001) fecal glucocorticoid metabolites compared to the section with fewer elephant and tourist. Pregnancy was accurately diagnosed in seven females using fecal progestagen metabolite analysis. Results will be used to facilitate management decisions for black rhino conservation both in the wild and in zoos.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 5:00pm to 6:00pm

623 S. Wabash Ave., 405
623 S. Wabash, Chicago, IL, 60605

Event Type



School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Science and Mathematics




Contact Name

Evelyn Oropeza

Contact Email

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