There are five species of rhinos, three of which are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN. Here at the Caldwell Zoo, we have black rhinos. Black rhinos are primarily solitary while other species, such as white rhinos live in herds.
Black rhinos rely on their sense of hearing and smell. Since they have poor vision they rely on warning calls from other animals and are sometimes seen charging trees and termite mounds. Their special horns are made of keratin, which is the material found in human fingernails and hair. Rhinos are heavily poached for their horns, which are used in traditional medicine in Asian countries and as a status symbol.
Distribution: Savannas in eastern and southern Africa
Diet in the Wild: Acacia leaves, herbs and succulents
Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Grain, alfalfa and varied fruits and vegetables
Height: 4.5 ft-6.0 ft (1.37 m-1.83 m) at the shoulder
Weight: 1760 lbs-3080 lbs (798 kg-1397 kg)
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered, population increasing
Threats: Poaching for the rhinoceros horn trade, habitat destruction
The black rhinoceros has a prehensile lip which it uses to grab and manipulate its food.
It is not uncommon to see our rhinoceros rolling around in the mud or dust. This is a natural behavior that all rhinos partake in. Rolling in the dirt gives a rhino an extra protective layer against sunburn and insect bites.
Kizuri, whose name means “beauty,” came to the Caldwell Zoo from the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, IL. She was born May 15, 1998. Although Kizuri seems to be the shyest of our rhinos, she gets rather jealous when the zookeepers are feeding or working with other rhinos. She will snort to make sure she gets her share of attention.
Christa, one of Caldwell Zoo’s female black rhinoceros, was born at the San Antonio Zoo on February 1, 1986. While at Caldwell Zoo, she has been mom to four youngsters—Ebony, born in 1993; Tatu, born in 1997; Jumbe, born in 2003; and Phineus, born in 2007. Although Christa does not like rainy days she does love to drink from a water hose. Her favorite treat is sweet potato. The zookeepers who care for Christa affectionately call her “The Princess” since she is rather particular about her environment.