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SOS Rhino : In the News : Detroit Zoo will welcome two endangered white rhinos this week

Detroit Zoo will welcome two endangered white rhinos this week

  7 Jul 2005

Jasiri and Tamba, two male white rhinos, will make the former elephant exhibit their new home. A third male, named Omari, is expected to join the group shortly.

Five-year-old Jasiri comes to the Detroit Zoo from Florida's Jacksonville Zoo. Tamba is four years old and since his birth has lived at the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee. Omari is two years old and is coming to the Zoo from the San Diego Wild Animal Park in California.

"The addition of this new endangered species is wonderful news," said Detroit Zoological Institute Director of Animal Welfare and Conservation, Scott Carter.

"We are delighted to have the first ever white rhino exhibit at the Zoo."

White rhinos are among the largest living land animals. Their skin is usually light gray to dark yellow. The white rhinos' barrel-shaped bodies are almost hairless and from a distance their skin looks smooth.

They have two horns; the front horn, often twice as big as the rear one, has a leading edge that comes almost as far forward as the broad top lip. White rhinos are the more social of the two African species; black rhinos are solitary by nature.

They have wide mouths suited for grazing on grasses, which is their main diet. Adult males weigh approximately 6,000 pounds and stand about 6 feet tall at their shoulders.

Wallowing in mud is not only an enjoyable past time for white rhinos but is also important for skin care. The mud offers the rhinos protection from the sun and insect bites.

Due to recent habitat destruction and urbanization, the white rhino species has become endangered. Illegal poaching for rhinoceros horns has also added to the headlong drop in population numbers.

There are now about 7,500 southern white rhinos and over 90 per cent are in South Africa.

The northern sub-species of the white rhino is highly endangered and only a small remnant population of about 30 individuals remain in Garamba National Park.

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