Genetic kinship and social structure in a herd of square-lipped rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum simum) at the zoological center, Tel Aviv/Ramat-Gan, Israel
|Title||Genetic kinship and social structure in a herd of square-lipped rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum simum) at the zoological center, Tel Aviv/Ramat-Gan, Israel|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2002|
|Authors||Seror, B, Zorovsky Y, Terkel A, Katcoff DJ|
|Keywords||parentage, paternity, RAPD, rhino|
Abstract 10.1002/zoo.10056.abs Zoos and zoological parks serve as genetic and demographic reserves for strengthening endangered populations and reestablishing extinct populations in the wild. Knowing the genetic ties within captive populations is a very helpful tool for successful reproductive management. In the present study we addressed kinship relationships and behavior among rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum simum) raised at the Zoological Center, Tel Aviv/Ramat Gan, Israel, with the hope of identifying reasons for the declining rate of reproduction within the herd. We used the random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) technique to reveal the paternity of the rhinos born at the park. In this way, we identified the paternity of five out of seven young born in the herd, which are currently in Ramat Gan. One male accounted for three (37.5%) births, and two other males accounted for one each. The paternity of the two other animals is unknown and may be of animals that are no longer in the Zoological Center. The genetic determinations were accompanied by behavioral observations, which enabled us to determine the social dynamics in the herd. This study suggests that there are at least three contributing factors to the reproductive decline in the herd: 1) a surplus of males, 2) exclusion of potentially reproductive males from the breeding stock, and 3) specific behavioral and physiological problems in some members of the herd. Zoo Biol 21:561–571, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.