Rhinos make home in Expedition Africa
April 11, 2003
By Jim Waymer
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
"Once they figure out the routine, it'll be like clockwork,"
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