View from the Zoo: Black rhinos are characters

The new black rhinos Samira and Olmoti are settling in at Flamingo Land Resort.
The new black rhinos Samira and Olmoti are settling in at Flamingo Land Resort.

We are proud to announce that Flamingo Land has received two black rhinos from Zurich!

Samira, aged 14, and her daughter Olmoti, aged nine months, travelled for 48 hours across Europe before arriving at our newly developed Selous Black Rhino Reserve on 23rd September.

Both rhinos are settling in well after a very long journey. They are showing a lot a character and are cautiously exploring their new home.

Visitors are able to view the rhinos from a viewing balcony. Viewing times are still restricted to allow the rhinos to settle in, and then viewing will be fully open once they appear calm and relaxed. In the long term, these rhinos will be part of a breeding programme to maintain the numbers of this species in captivity.

Flamingo Land is the only full member of EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) exhibiting both white rhino and black rhino, and there is only one other zoo in Europe (in the Czech Republic) keeping both species. Our white rhino, Balu and Zimba, will remain in their current house and will not be mixed with the black rhino.

The black rhino is one of the five species of rhino. Despite its name, this rhino is usually grey or brown in colour. It can be distinguished from its counterpart, the white rhino, by possessing a hooked lip as opposed to a wide square lip, allowing it to browse on vegetation. The black rhino is also smaller than the white rhino. Adult black rhinos can reach 1.4-1.8m in height and 3-3.75m in length. Their weight is around 1-1.5 tonnes, although some have weighed almost 2.9 tonnes, and are capable of running speeds of around 30-35mph.

Once they have reached adult size they don’t have any natural predators, however, young or injured rhinos may be targeted by crocodiles and lions.

The rhinos’ horn is an important tool, used for digging up roots, branches and defence. It continues to grow as it is made of a protein called keratin, the same protein found in your hair and fingernails. The rhino then have to file it into a desired horn-shape by rubbing it against hard surfaces. As with the other species of rhino, the main threat which the black rhino faces is poaching for its horn.