Rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simum
The White rhino owes its name to a misunderstanding. British
settlers, hearing the Afrikaners referring to Weijt rhinos did not
realise this meant wide-mouthed rhinos, taking instead the sound of
the word literally.
wide clomping mouth is used for grazing over grasslands, unlike
the pointed lips of the Black rhino which is more of a browser or
nibbler of leaves and bushes.
The White rhino has:
rhinos are divided into two sub-species, the northern form " cottoni
", and the southern form; " simum ". Ours are of the
Southern form and originated in the Jmfolozi Reserve in South Africa
in the early 1970s, arriving in Glasgow in 1975.
Few body hairs - hairs are not needed for insulation. Large animals
retain heat more easily than small ones because their body surface
is smaller proportionate to body size.
Ear flaps - long, moveable and trumpet-like ears help to locate
Horns - the two horns are formed out of matted, hardened hair.
" Rhinoceros " comes from the Greek and means " nose-horn
Long head and wide mouth - adaptations for grazing. Rhinos have
a fine sense of smell, aided by an enormous nose.
Leathery hide - Rhinos and Elephants are traditionally called
" pachyderms ", Greek for " thick skins ". Wallowing
in mud is good for their skins and discourages skin parasites.
Hump - contains ligament supporting weight of the massive head.
Legs - are massive to support great weight of body. Look out for
knee and ankle joints.
Hooves - there are three hooves - these are enlarged toe-nails
of the 3 middle digits. In horses (close relatives of rhinos)
the hoof is the middle toe.
of originally two males from the herd at Whipsnade Zoo, the other
male was sent in the mid-1980s to Le Jardin des Plantes in Paris
as one of a pair with a young female from Edinburgh Zoo. We are
happy to say that several calves have subsequently been produced.
The female, Beni , from Regent's Park (who arrived in Glasgow
soon after the other male left) died at Christmas 1995 of old age-related
disorders. We await the advice of the Species Co-ordinator as to
what will happen next. We hope another female will be allocated
the meantime, our male, Zulu lives on his own - as he would
in the wild - holding his own territory through which he would expect
small groups of females to wander from time to time. It is up to
us to provide, if not a group, then at least one female!
white rhinos - the largest and heaviest of the five rhino species
- are actually languorous beasts, gentle grass eaters; and often
form small herds, unlike the other rhinos. They are fond of wallowing
in mud. Their dung is deposited in selected areas to mark their
territory - as can be observed in their enclosure.
Zoo's White Rhinos are on a Baby Boom
Zoo's white rhinos Umfolozi and Kruger have become proud parents
- for the 11th time.
It is quite unusual for a pair of white rhinos kept on their own
in this way to breed so regularly and productively.
There was a time when some zoos felt it necessary there should be
an element of competition among the males to encourage them to mate
with the females.
As Zulu, the male at Glasgow Zoopark, wasn't doing his stuff, so
to speak, we tipped a dustbin-full of Kruger's dung each morning
into the Glasgow enclosure to make Zulu think he had a rival.
It worked - he spent a happy hour or two knocking hell out of the
dung heap each day.
When Zulu arrived in 1975, he was accompanied by another adult male,
Massa, who later moved to Les Jardin de Plantes Zoo in Paris, where
he has since sired a succession of healthy calves.
Rhinos in Zimbabwe Under Threat
are concerned that the current unrest in Zimbabwe may be putting animals
at risk. More than 3000 black rhinos roam free in the country, but
it is feared that poachers could take advantage of the current state
of turmoil, and prey on the beautiful beasts.
sought-after horns can fetch up to £10,000 per kilo on the black
market, so there is an obvious profit to be made for those cruel
enough to sacrifice the rhinos.
animals currently live either in national parks, or in private ranches
and sanctuaries, where they are usually protected by armed guards
and sometimes even confined behind high fences.
has been proven in the past that poaching in the country is not
just organised by a few individuals. The poachers usually hunt in
well-organised gangs are are heavily armed.
us all hope that law and order is restored quickly to protect the
people – and animals – of the country.
details of a 1835 visit to Glasgow by a Rhino click Here