Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the male Southern white rhinoceros is now on exhibit.
“We’re excited to have a male here and hope to have baby rhinos on the ground within a couple years,” said Nashville Zoo Hoofstock Keeper, Jason Faessler.
Named The Cheetah by generous donors, the male rhino is 5 years old and weighs approximately 4,000 pounds. He has joined the current crash of four female Southern white rhinos - Nandi, Kacie, Norma and Modwani. He arrived in Nashville back in December 2018 and has been behind the scenes adjusting to his new home and new roommates.
Nashville Zoo is working with the International Rhino Foundation to support anti-poaching and community engagement initiatives along with providing critically needed protection for white rhinos in South Africa through the construction of new guard posts in South Africa’s Great Fish River Nature Reserve. People can help Nashville Zoo in these efforts and learn more about how to help save these magnificent animals by visiting the Zoo and the website.
The Southern white rhino is the largest species of rhino, with males tipping the scale at nearly 6,000 pounds. Females are considerably smaller, but can still weigh in at an impressive 4,000 pounds. These rhinos are the most social of all the rhino species, living in family groups as opposed to being solitary.
"It’s good to bring the male in as a social aspect for the females," Faessler said. "In the wild, there is generally a crash of females with a male living on the outskirts, so this will be enriching for both the male and females.”
Nashville Zoo is working with the Southern White Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan® to work on a breeding program for this crash in hopes to prolong the survival of this species for many years in both human care and the wild.
“It’s important to have new bloodlines to keep up a healthy genetic diversity in this species,” Faessler said. “Having a strong population in human care, means we have a better chance of saving the species in case we can’t stop them from being poached in Africa."
While the Southern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum) is the least endangered of the living rhino species with 21,077 remaining in the wild, they are listed as near threatened due to habitat loss and illegal poaching. In South Africa alone, poachers kill three or more rhinos per day to feed the demand for horn on the black market.