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SOS Rhino : In the News : Brevard Zoo welcomes Africa's bad boys
 

Brevard Zoo welcomes Africa's bad boys

 

Rhinos make home in Expedition Africa
April 11, 2003
By Jim Waymer
FLORIDA TODAY

Two jittery white rhinos sauntered behind bars, awaiting their July 4 debut at Brevard Zoo.

"They're so big, they'll lean against you, and you're squished," Margo McKnight, the zoo's director said, explaining the need for thick galvanized steel bars to keep the rhinos at bay.

The endangered rhinos will be trotted out among 60 new animals planned for the new Expedition Africa exhibit.
They arrived last week from White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee.

A few yards away from their concrete quarters, a 14-foot tall giraffe lurks behind a wooden wall next to the rhino's quarters. All three animals will be quarantined for a month, while they're tested for parasites and other illnesses.

They seemed oblivious to the traffic screaming by on Interstate 95, just several yards from their night house.
"They're much more sensitive to low frequencies," said Mike Magaw, assistant curator of animals at the zoo.

Magaw will help train the animals to walk in and out of the night house daily, across a small bridge to a 10-acre habitat still under construction.

"Once they figure out the routine, it'll be like clockwork," he said.

But zoo officials expect it could be tough at first to coax them back into the hut.

"The first time they go out to that fun area, we probably won't get them back in that night," McKnight said.
Visitors will be able to see the animals by train, an overlook and a guided kayak river tour.

Guests can get a quick look at the new arrivals at a fundraiser today, but the general public will have to wait for the grand opening in July.


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