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Non-Equine Dentistry » Black Rhino

I had the privilege of accompanying Sue Downie (Black Rhino Monitoring Project), Dr Pete Morkel (Co-ordinator of Rhino Projects, Frankfurt Zoological Society) and the SANParks veterinary team to Karoo National Park to assist in their quest to improve the eating capabilities of Mpumalele, a +/- 28 year old black rhino.  Nose to hook lip with this incredible beast, I was able to file the buccal (outside) and palatal (inside) edges on the maxillary (upper) molars, and the lingual (inside) edges on the mandibular (lower) molars.  Check out the video below.

Black rhino are browsers, using their hooked lip to grasp trees and shrubs and their teeth to shear the vegetation off.  They have a life expectancy in the wild of 30 to 35 years.  Mpumalele's age was assessed to be between 26 to 30 years and, with several missing teeth and little reserve crown, his ability to survive in the wild was significantly compromised.

Happily retired at Addo Elephant National Park, where the nutritious, more easily masticated browse contrasts sharply with the harsh natural environment at Karoo National Park, and where more regular monitoring was possible, Mpumalele was able to enjoy the remainder of his life in greater comfort.


YouTube video:  Donovan Lamerton floating the teeth of a black rhino 




For more information on the dentition of black rhino, click here.


Rhino Monitoring Project
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