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How Do You Differentiate Black, Indian and Sumatran Rhinos?

Guest blogger:  Crissi Lanier, Interpretive Media Intern

There are five species of rhinos in the world – Javan, Indian, Sumatran, Black & White. Three of these species, Indian, Black and Sumatran, reside here at the Cincinnati Zoo. Do you know how to identify them and where to find them? If not, read on and test your rhino knowledge on #WorldRhinoDay this Sunday, September 22.

Harapan at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Sumatran rhino Harapan at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Sumatran Rhino: Our sibling Sumatran rhinos, Harapan & Suci, have been in the news lately because they are the only two of their kind in North America and, as such, are key to the survival of this critically-endangered species.  They are in neighboring enclosures in Wildlife Canyon, where you can see them doing their favorite thing — getting muddy!

The Sumatran rhino’s most distinguishing feature is the reddish-brown hair that covers most of its body. It’s the smallest of all rhino species, standing about 4-feet high at the shoulder and weighs about 1,500–1,800 lbs. Like both African species, it has two horns.

To read more about the Sumatran Rhinos from past blogs click here.

Black rhino, Klyde.

Black rhino, Klyde.

Black Rhino: Our female black rhino, Seyia, is new to the Zoo and getting used to her surroundings in the Veldt.  She will make her public debut soon.  Her predecessor, Klyde, was transferred to the Sedgwick County Zoo for breeding a few months ago. Learn more about the crate training that made Klyde’s move smooth.

Although this rhino is referred to as black, its colors vary from brown to gray.  The black rhino is also referred to as the hook-lipped rhinoceros because of its prehensile upper lip.  It has two horns but can sometimes develop a third.

relaxing in water

Nikki in the water

Indian Rhino: We have two female Indian rhinos, Nikki and Manjula.  They are in separate enclosures in our Veldt, with Nikki often found lounging in her pool and Manjula making appearances when she feels like it!

The Indian rhino, also called the greater one-horned rhinoceros and Indian one-horned rhinoceros, has only one horn!  Nikki’s is a bit worn down because she likes to rub it on trees and rocks. This heavily built species can weigh up to 8,000 lbs and has thick, silver-brown skin, and very little body hair. Its upper legs and shoulders are covered in wart-like bumps.

Manjula, our largest rhino.

Manjula, our largest rhino.

*Sumatran rhinos are considered Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  They are native to Sumatra (Indonesia), Borneo and Malay Peninsula.

*Black rhinos are considered Critically Endangered by the IUCN.  They are found in various parts of central and southern Africa.

*Indian rhinos are considered Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  They are found in Nepal and India.

All of these rhinos need our help to survive for future generations.  You can  A.D.O.P.T. them to help aid in their daily care and enrichment, visit the Zoo on #WorldRhinoDay, talk to volunteers at the CREW stands about current research and more.

September 17, 2013   1 Comment

This Side Up… How to Crate Train a Rhino

Many families in America have had the opportunity to crate train a puppy.  Crate training can be a pretty easy task, as puppies tend to enjoy a secure place while their parents are out of the house.  At the Cincinnati Zoo there comes a time when many of our animals have to be crate trained… but rarely is it an animal as large and as powerful as a black rhino.   That being said, teaching a rhino to crate train is not unlike puppy crate training, it is just on a MUCH larger scale.


We are fortunate, here at the Cincinnati Zoo, to have a wonderful keeper staff that cares about our animals and always has the animal’s best interest at heart.  Immediately after finding out our black rhino,”Klyde,” was scheduled to move to the Sedgewick County Zoo for breeding, the Cincinnati Zoo staff started planning and preparing.  They found a size appropriate crate and had our maintenance department bring it in and set it up so Klyde has access to it from his indoor holding area.  Before they even allowed Klyde to lay eyes on it everyone got together and created a game plan for his introduction.  We started by discussing Klyde’s personality, his daily needs, how the keepers wanted to see the first week go.  Once we had that all laid out it was a matter of putting together a schedule that I, as a trainer, thought was appropriate for the animal and meeting the needs of the Zoo.

The first part of training is to figure out how quickly to progress.  It’s very important to understand that nothing is planned 100% when it comes to training animals. You always have to be willing to adapt or change your plan as the animals change theirs.  Step one is to keep things calm and allow Klyde to be desensitized on his terms.  Klyde has three extra large stalls in his indoor holding area.  The first stall is where he has access outside, which is now the entrance to his large rhino crate.


Day one we wanted things as normal as possible for Klyde.  He had is primary keeper, Marjorie, who kept things calm, gave him his daily bath and moved him from stall to stall for cleaning, as normal.  In the morning he was not allowed in the first stall but had a window to be able to see what was going on.  Marge prepared his breakfast, left some browse (a favorite treat for Klyde) leading up to the crate and set it all up in his first stall so that as he ate he could see his crate.

As he was allowed access to the first stall he kept a wary eye on the crate but he mostly ignored it. Keepers did not allow him to fully enter in the crate the first two days.  It is very important that he is not given an opportunity to have a negative experience.   However, the second day, he actually went towards the crate and stuck his head in it, smelling it and just checking it out.  By day three he was much more comfortable in his adjacent stall and was no longer jumpy.  The desensitization process was right on track!!


By day four we were ready to allow Klyde more access and time to get used to the crate.  The pole blocking his entrance was removed from the crate and his breakfast was moved right in front of the entrance to the crate.  Further inside the crate we placed hay and some of his favorite treats along with some browse hanging around the entrance to entice him to eat near it, around it and inside of it.  We wanted him to always pair the crate with positive experiences and feelings.

Check back for updates on Klyde’s progress. You can also follow me on Twitter @MeganKateF for more frequent updates.  When you come to the Zoo you will be able to see his extra large crate, and you may even see one of his keepers feeding him treats from the yard side of the crate.

May 2, 2013   3 Comments

This One’s a Keeper! – Meet Marjorie Barthel

In recognition of National Zoo Keeper Week, we’re featuring some of our amazing keepers here on our blog.

Majorie Barthel often works with her favorite animal, a black rhino named Klyde, as one of the hoofed-mammal keepers at the Cincinnati Zoo. She began her career as a keeper by volunteering at the Cincinnati Zoo during high school and then got a part-time job working in the Children’s Zoo, eventually moving up to a full-time position working with elephants.

Marjorie and Klyde

Majorie has worked with gorillas & nocturnal animals, but her true love is hoofed stock.  On a typical day, she feeds, cleans, trains, administers medicine and gives the animals in her care the proper, personal attention they love. Like many of the animal keepers here, Majorie is a keeper for life. “This is more than a job, it’s a lifestyle. I love it.”

Marjorie feeds Klyde

Marjorie feeds Black Rhino Klyde

July 18, 2011   11 Comments