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Phila on the mend at Joburg Zoo Print E-mail
11 November 2010

The rhino’s hearing is recovering, it is eating well and is not as aggressive as previously, as zoo staff watch over its recuperation.

PHILA, the injured female black rhino, is recovering well in its new home at the Joburg Zoo.

The zoo’s brand and communications manager, Letta Madlala, says the determined rhino is doing relatively well considering all that has happened to it.

“Phila is adjusting very well in her new environment … She has been feeding voraciously on at least 50 kilograms of lucerne a day.”

Phila arrived at the zoo on 25 October from Modimolle in Limpopo, where it had been shot several times on two separate occasions - in the wild and in an enclosure - by poachers who wanted the animal’s horn.

“It took her at least two days to settle down and she is showing fewer signs of aggression or alarming behaviour,” says Madlala.

The recuperating rhino is staying alone in a camp prepared by the zoo, as black rhinos are solitary and territorial animals. Once it has recovered from its injuries, Phila will be returned to the wild.

Madlala explains that the zoo will continue to monitor the animal’s condition twice daily.

Other Joburg Zoo staff have also have noted a marked improvement in Phila’s hearing. It is now able to respond when called and leaves the night room immediately the door is opened.

“Although, Phila’s condition has improved, her body weight still has not reached its optimal levels,” Madlala says.

The black rhino is one of the most endangered species on Earth. They are poached for their valuable horns. These horns are used in some parts of the world to make medicine, and to make handles for knives in others.

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