Black Rhinos and Mopane Leaves

Black Rhino

Black Rhino

Black rhinos, giraffe and elephant seem particularly fond of the leaves of the mopane, a tree species characteristic of southern Africa’s major remaining wilderness area, the Miombo-Mopane Woodlands and Grasslands.  The mopane tree is known by several other common names, including balsam tree, turpentine tree and butterfly tree, the latter name due to the unique bi-lobed shape of its leaves.

Mopane tree

Mopane tree

Mopane Tree Leaves

Mopane Tree Leaves

Giraffa camelopardalis Swaziland 040314 WRK 117 low res

Giraffe

African Elephant

African Elephant

2 thoughts on “Black Rhinos and Mopane Leaves

  1. It seems that the Mopane is a strong and well adapted tree in many kind of hars environment. In Java Indonesia’s dry deciduous forest areas there are two kind of similar tree the Tayuman (Bauhinia purpurea) and Kendayakan (B.malabaricum) both of thses plant leaves taste sourly, a kind of refreshment energy in dry climate.

  2. Actually. mopane leaves are a poor food source for black rhino and are basically “rejected”. Only large bodied animals like adult elephant have ability to subsist off mopane. Black rhino do eat mopane as a dry-season resource when little else is available , and prefer the shoots (twigs) of smaller low growing scrub mopane – there are no leaves present when most mopane eating is done. Mopane often grows in dense stands and these support several browsing type animals, but not in as high numbers (per kg of browse available) as would a similar area of dense Acacia, for example – a much more beneficial and palatable plant type.

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