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Di. 28 Nov.

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Behavior and Reproduction in Southern White Rhino Using Thermographic Imaging

Join Erika Defer, the Director of Research at Safari West to discuss Behavior and Reproduction in Southern White Rhino Using Thermographic Imaging.

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Behavior and Reproduction in Southern White Rhino Using Thermographic Imaging
Behavior and Reproduction in Southern White Rhino Using Thermographic Imaging

Time & Location

28 Nov. 2023 20:30 – 21:30 GMT-5

Zoom

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About the Event

Part of our responsibility of housing animals under human care is to expand our knowledge to continuously improve their wellbeing, especially for a keystone species such as the southern white rhinoceros. One of the major ways we accomplish this is through scientific research.

With the oversight of our research committee, Safari West is conducting research related to behavior and reproduction in southern white rhinos, utilizing thermographic imaging. We have seen evidence that supports the ability to detect and monitor pregnancy in our female southern white rhinoceros by monitoring changes in heat signatures on her abdomen and teats. Images are captured weekly with the FLIR® E5 XT and FLIR® E76 cameras. FLIR® Thermal Studio Suite allows us to look at temperature variation over time to determine thermal patterns. The use of this technology to detect and monitor pregnancy is innovative and, to our knowledge, has only been researched in a few species, white rhinos not being one of them. We saw a significant increase in temperature in the pregnancy field of the abdomen in the third trimester compared to the other trimesters, as well as compared to the male. We also saw a significant increase in teat temperature in the weeks leading up to parturition.

We believe the information gathered from this research is valuable, especially with species and/or individuals that it is unrealistic to collect voluntary samples from and has the potential to translate to in situresearch, as it allows for non-invasive data collection. We are continuing this research project postpartum, to ascertain the use of thermographic imaging to monitor estrus cycles in southern white rhinos.

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