Trunkline Magazine (Louisville Zoo) June 2018 | Page 4

WHO'S NEW AT THE ZOO Letterman Southern White Rhino Age: 3 Arrived: April 6, 2018 On exhibit: Now in Rotation "Friendly Like his Namesake" Rhino Letterman arrived at the Zoo on April 6, 2018. He’s only 3 years old and comes from The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio. He was originally called Montgomery but his name was changed by Jack Hanna in honor of talk show host David Letterman. So far, Letterman’s keepers have been very impressed by how friendly he is. He seems to enjoy company and actually seeks it out when given the opportunity. He enjoys eating grain mix as a treat and getting his neck scratched by his keepers. You’ll be able to distinguish him from female Sindi by his ear tip that droops on one side. Rhinos in the remnant wild are often solitary but do sometimes form groups. It is estimated that there were 500,000 rhinos across Africa and Asia at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, there are approximately 20,000 rhinos in the vanishing wild. Poaching and loss of habitat have put all rhino species in danger of extinction. In March 2018, the last male northern white rhino, Sudan, passed away in Kenya. Letterman will be on rota- 4 • Louisville Zoo Trunkline • Summer 2018 tion with 34-year-old female Sindi in the Africa Zone. Eventually, the two will be introduced and on exhibit together. Introductions of unfamiliar rhinos can often result in sparring in both males and females such as horn-to-horn staring, charging, and physical contact with superficial scrapes. This is normal behavior requiring no intervention. With increased size and thick skin comes decreased vulnerability compared to many other animals. Once the rhi- nos have established their roles and territorial boundaries, they usually will engage in calmer interactions.