December 4, 2023
Seneca Park Zoo’s southern white rhino ‘Jiwe’ has turned seven! As the second largest land mammal, he has tipped the scale at just over 4,000lbs and is still growing. Once full grown, he could weigh between 5,000 and 6,000 pounds. Their horns grow throughout their whole life, about 7cm per year. They are composed of keratin, the same substance as your fingernails and hair!
Jiwe is great to work with. He engages with any kind of enrichment, and is an active participant in his training, especially when brushing is involved! This allows us to easily provide routine health care such as, administer vaccines, obtain blood samples, and even get foot x-rays! When Jiwe is not interacting with his keepers or enrichment, you will find him eating or sleeping. Rhinos usually sleep in intervals that total up to eight hours per day.
Jiwe is currently living his best bachelor life as male rhinos are solitary. Female white rhinos stay in groups. Fun fact, a group of rhinos is called a “crash” not a herd. There are two subspecies of white rhinos, southern and northern. The southern white rhino population continues to decline and is listed as near threatened. There are only two northern white rhinos left in the world, who are both female. Their largest threat is poaching.
While many factors are involved with trying to protect rhinos, a visit to see Jiwe is a great start! He is a wonderful ambassador animal that guests can make a personal connection with to be inspired to help save this species. Be sure to check out the savanna or rhino experiences to get a chance to go behind the scenes and learn more about rhinos and their care!
– Zoologist Kat Kleinschmidt