NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville Zoo has introduced Southern white rhinoceros to its animal family. Four young females are now roaming in the zoo’s former elephant exhibit.
The four white rhinos came from a reserve in South Africa and are slowly adjusting to the new sights, sounds, and smells that come with their new home here in Nashville. Keepers are monitoring the rhinos until they become more comfortable in their outdoor habitat. Because the young rhinos are still a little nervous, there is no guarantee that they will be out on any certain day or time, but the best chance to see them is before noon.
While the Southern white rhino is the least endangered of the living rhino species with 21,077 remaining in the wild, they are listed as near threatened due to habitat loss and illegal poaching. In South Africa alone, poachers kill three or more rhinos per day to feed the demand for horn on the black market.
Nashville Zoo brings local awareness of the critical status of all five rhino species during its annual conservation concert, Rockin’ for Rhinos, and also supports the International Rhino Foundation through financial contributions.
The Southern white rhino is the largest species of rhino. It has a wide mouth used for grazing and is the most social of all the rhino species living in family groups as opposed to being solitary. White rhinos can live up to 50 years or more, with males tipping the scale at nearly 6,000 pounds. Females are considerably smaller, but can still weigh in at an impressive 4,000 pounds. At close to six feet tall, white rhinos can run as fast as 35 miles per hour and are surprisingly quick and nimble for their size.
Nashville Zoo’s African Savannah exhibit was originally funded by the Cal Turner Foundation. The addition of Southern white rhinos and exhibit renovations were made possible by generous support and funding from Kathryn and David Brown, Patricia and Rodes Hart, the Andrea Waitt Carlton Family Foundation, Katie and Kevin Crumbo, Babs and Bill Freeman, Julie and George Stadler and a grant through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
For more information, visit www.nashvillezoo.org.
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