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SOS Rhino : In the News : Zoo's rhino getting help for aching feet

Zoo's rhino getting help for aching feet


April 7, 2003, 1:06 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A 2-ton Indian rhinoceros at the Buffalo Zoo will be treading a little more lightly with the donation of a few truckloads of topsoil to cushion his aching feet.

The rare rhino's foot problems have forced the zoo to halt attempts at breeding him until he is able to endure pressure on his hind feet.

Dr. Frank Ridgley, a zoo veterinarian, told The Buffalo News the problem is common with rhinos in U.S. and European zoos. The rocky soil Henry is now exposed to has caused cracks in the skin which widen with each step. He is being treated with oral antibiotics and daily footbaths.

In their natural habitat, rhinos spend a lot of time wallowing in mud and water, and walk on much softer soil.

The zoo also is working with a tire maker that has offered to produce custom-made Kevlar boots for Henry.

Zoo officials have been seeking high-quality topsoil to counter the erosion of the limestone beds on which the zoo was built. Amherst agreed to donate 60 cubic yards from the town's compost facility, worth about $5,300.

Zoo President Donna Fernandez said the zoo would try to raise private funds to buy some more.

Copyright © 2003, The Associated Press

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