The Fab 4

Spirit, Jemu, Grey and Lilli are enjoying the last remaining natural grazing of the summer months. The temperatures are beginning to drop and rain showers are light and infrequent. Caregivers will soon need to increase supplementary food but for now, the rhinos continue to graze.

Spirit, Jemu, Grey and Liili are white rhinos, or square-lipped rhinos, the largest of the five rhinoceros species. White rhinos are primarily found in grassland habitats throughout Africa. One of the key adaptations of white rhinos is their ability to graze on tough, low-nutrient grasses for long periods of time. Their strong, square-shaped lips and wide mouths enable them to crop and grind vegetation close to the ground, making them very efficient grazers. As a hindgut fermenter, a white rhino has a modified digestive system that allows the rhino to extract as much nutrition as possible from its food.
White rhinos play a vital role in shaping the grassland ecosystems in which they live. By grazing on tough, low-nutrient grasses, they create a more open landscape, which benefits other grazers such as zebras and antelopes, who prefer short grasses. Additionally, their grazing prevents the encroachment of woody plants into grasslands, which can lead to the loss of habitat for other species. As a keystone species, the presence of white rhinos has a significant impact on the overall structure and function of the ecosystem. They provide food and habitat for a range of organisms, from scavengers like vultures and hyenas to predators like lions and leopards. Ultimately, the adaptations of white rhinos to be efficient grazers contribute to the overall health and stability of grassland ecosystems.