Did You Know?
Meerkats eat almost anything. They love bugs, watermelon, cat food treats, bones, and frozen fruit.
Today, we would like wish our male black rhino, Jello, a very happy 10th birthday. He will be spending his day in a warm barn with all of the hay he can eat. Some of the things on Jello’s birthday wish list are new toys (though they may be a bit bigger than the toys on your list), a warm mud bath, and a nice tree branch to munch. He might even get some extra special treats, like an alfalfa cube cake, to celebrate.
While we would like to focus entirely on Jello, we can’t help but mention the fact that many black rhinos in the wild don’t have the same luxurious life that he leads. Black rhinos are native to Africa, but their population has been declining recently. Some cultures believe that rhino horns contain medicinal properties, so they are being poached for their horns. According to the IRF, the International Rhino Foundation, there are only 5,055 black rhinos left in the wild, and they are still being poached at an alarming rate. In 2013, over 1,004 rhinos, both black and white, were poached in South Africa alone.
There is hope, however! Partnerships between local communities, International Rhino Foundation, and other conservation groups are focusing on how to best protect the remaining rhino population. Currently, there are programs, like Rhino Protection Units, dedicated to tracking and monitoring rhinos in park reserves. By ear-notching individual rhinos, and attaching tracking collars, conservationists can better understand their movements, and even translocate some from high-risk areas to safer locations. Through the unified support of the African countries involved and organizations like the IRF, there is an optimistic outlook for the future of these rhino species.
YOU can help too! First, get informed. Visit www.rhinos.org for more information about black rhinos, other rhino species, and conservation efforts. Second, you can give a donation. Each donation goes directly to rhino conservation. Your help can mean one more black rhino is safe from poachers!
Please join us in celebrating Jello’s birthday by trying to make our world a better place, not just for us, but also for these magnificent animals that share it with us.
- Your Potter Park Zoo Rhino Keepers