Rhinos at Kifaru Reserve

Kifaru Reserve is home to our ‘crash’, or group, of Eastern black rhino.

They’re the heavyweights of the Folly Farm family.

They also tell the strongest conservation story, with fewer than 650 left in the wild.

We’re one of only seven zoos in the UK to care for this critically endangered species. So, it’s also rare to see them in zoos.

We have four black rhinos at Folly Farm – Dakima, Manyara, Nkosi and as of January 2020 a new baby boy who’s yet to be named – and you can see them in Kifaru Reserve*. ‘Kifaru’ means ‘Rhino’ in Swahili. When designing our black rhino enclosure, we learnt from other leading UK and European zoos. So we know it provides the best conditions for breeding black rhino.

*Dakima and her baby are currently not on display as they need privacy during this important bonding time.

Why do they live alone?

Black rhino are usually solitary animals, which means they like to live alone. So our rhino house has three bedrooms connected to three separate paddocks. However, Dakima and her baby son will live alongside each other for the next few years as mothers and their offspring do in the wild. You can walk right around the reserve to get an amazing view of the rhinos charging backwards and forwards, and rolling in the mud. Which they like to do. A lot.

You’ll see a black rhino even when it’s raining, or they’re relaxing indoors as our indoor viewing area looks onto one of our bedrooms. Here you’ll see ‘browse’ (tree branches) hanging from the ceiling for the rhinos to munch. Black rhino have a hooked lip, which they use to pull leaves off branches. Some of the other types of rhino, including white rhino, have straight lips because they graze on grass, much like cows.

You’ll also see tree trunks on the wall. Our rhinos rub their horns on these to keep them healthy. The rest of the house has been designed to give our black rhino, the privacy they need to breed. And in january 2020 we were delighted by the arrival of our first rhino calf, a boy. He was not just a first for Folly Farm but also the first rhino to be born in Wales, so we’re super proud! As we’re part of a breeding programme for this critically endangered species it’s possible our baby rhino, or his offspring, will return to Africa as part of a captive reintroduction to a protected reserve.

Rhino horn is not medicine

We’re pleased to be able to use our Kifaru Reserve enclosure to explain the dangers that face black rhino to the 500,000 people who visit us every year. We’re also raising money for Save the Rhino’s Dog Squad project, which funds the training of dogs to help the rangers who protect black rhino in the wild. You can read more about we do for conservation and the breeding programmes we belong to.

Daily rhino talk

Once a day, our rhino keepers will tell you all about the crash in the daily rhino talk. This is your chance to ask questions about our rhino, and get answers from the people who know them best.

The rhino house is also home to our pancake tortoises. As their name suggests, they are much flatter than the tortoises you might be used to. And there are rainbow skink, which are as colourful as they sound. Learn more about black rhino, including fun facts.