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Southern White Rhinoceros

At the Zoo: Southern White Rhinoceros

Animal Story

A group of wolves is a “pack” and a group of sheep is a “flock,” but a group of rhinos is called a “crash.” Our crash of White rhinos consists of 1 adult male, 3 adult females, and 1 female baby. All, except the baby, were born in reserves in South Africa, where “white” rhinos got their name, through a misunderstanding of the Afrikaans word “weit,” which means “wide” and is a reference to their wide muzzle, not their color. In fact, White rhinos are medium gray in color, when they are not the color of the mud they like to roll in.

Rhinos are grazers and feed mostly on grass. With their wide mouths carried low to the ground, they can look like lawn mowers crossing a field of grass. They enjoy varieties of hay, especially alfalfa.

“Ongava” is our male rhino. He is a laid-back fellow who likes to get back scratches from the animal care staff. He also enjoys being surrounded by the 3 lovely rhino females, “Kidogo,” “Fujo," and "Alake.” “Kidogo” is currently the dominant female of the group. She is headstrong and confident. “Fujo” on the other hand startles easily and follows the lead of the others.  "Alake" is the mother of baby girl "Ahati" who was born at the Zoo on May 21, 2015.  "Ahati" is an independent girl, and enjoys exploring the yard in the company of her mom and "aunties."

Through training and positive reinforcement, our rhinos will voluntarily stand for veterinary procedures, and voluntarily step on a scale to be weighed. They are cooperative and we enjoy getting to know them.

About: Southern White Rhinoceros

Natural Habitat

Savannas, forests, river valleys, and marshes.


Eastern and southern Africa.


Weight: 4,000-6,000 pounds.
Height at shoulder: 5-6 feet.


25-45 years.


16 months.

Diet Details

Open savannas and grasslands.

Fun Facts: Southern White Rhinoceros

  • The word “rhinoceros” is a combination of two Greek words – “rhino” meaning nose and “ceros” meaning horn.
  • White rhinoceros are considered the second largest land mammal after the elephant.
  • Relative to their large body size, rhinoceros have small brains.
  • Rhinoceros horns are not made of bone or ivory but of keratin, the same material found in our hair and fingernails.
  • The closest living rhinoceros relatives are horses, zebras, and tapirs.
  • White rhinos are not white, and Black rhinos are not black. They are both shades of gray.

Conservation: Southern White Rhinoceros

There are only 5 species of rhino remaining today, of which, 4 are on the verge of extinction from habitat loss and illegal hunting for their horns. Rhino horn is thought to contain medicinal properties in many Asian cultures and many people are willing to pay a high price in order to obtain it.

The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) is dedicated to the survival of the world’s remaining rhinoceros species through conservation and research. IRF protects rhino populations in the wild while collecting valuable data on their biology and conservation needs. In addition, IRF supports the management and research of captive populations to improve the chances for long-term survival of all rhino species.

The Zoo has committed annual funding in support of IRF conservation efforts. In addition, the Zoo maintains breeding groups of Indian rhino and Southern white rhino. In 2013, the Zoo hosted its first annual World Rhino Day event to help educate our visitors on the plight of today’s rhino populations.

How You Can Help

Adopt an Animal!

You can help support expert animal care at the Zoo as well as local and global conservation efforts by purchasing a symbolic animal adoption package.

Join Us!

When you become a member of Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo you are supporting conservation year-round.

Be a Conservation Leader!

Each of us can help protect the environment, wildlife, and habitats through choices we make in our daily lives. Even small changes can make big positive impacts on the world around us.

  • Write to your government leaders – Petition your state and city officials to make the sale and trade of endangered animal parts illegal.
  • Wildlife habitat – Saving, protecting, and creating habitat ensures a place for wildlife to live, eat, or migrate through. You can protect rhinos by saving habitat and you can help wildlife in your own backyard by creating wildlife gardens.
  • Protecting rhinos – You can support anti-poaching efforts by contributing to reputable animal reserves in Africa.

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Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in education, conservation and research. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and is featured among the “Top 25 Zoos in the U.S” by TripAdvisor (2015) and “10 Best Zoos in the U.S.” by Trekaroo (2015). The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48) and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 

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