We recently had the privilege of feeding the Black Rhinoceros at nearby Paignton Zoo which is a 15 minute drive from The 25. Paignton Zoo is a conservation, education and scientific charity and the zoo, although right next to Paignton, is set in large landscaped grounds making it feel like the middle of nowhere.
The rhinos are critically endangered. Between 1960 and 1995, the number of black rhino dropped by 98% to around 2,500. They are killed mainly for their tusks for use in medicine and also as trophies. However, thanks to intensive conservation efforts, numbers are slowly rising, with around 5,600 animals surviving today.
The money spent on this particular animal experience at the zoo goes directly to a programme of rhino conservation in Zimbabwe. The zoo has supported the Dambari Wildlife Trust (DWT) since 1997, based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The trust conserves and protects Zimbabwe’s natural heritage for future generations by providing funding, expertise and practical assistance.
Zimbabwe is home to both the endangered black rhino and the threatened southern white rhino. The DWT has been involved with rhino conservation since 2000. Individual rhinos are tagged and tracked, which helps to protect them from poachers.
Rhinos eat mainly leaves so it’s a real treat for them to have a little fruit which is what we gave them (an apple and a banana each). It was wonderful to be up so close (though we had to stay behind a sturdy gate – they were reared in captivity but at the end of the day are still kept as wild animals and can be unpredictable).
The zoo keepers were very knowledgeable and able to answer all our questions as we fed them. There are two, a male and a female, who are kept separately. This is their natural way of living as solitary animals.
They enjoyed being stroked and having a back rub too and were very friendly. It was a truly unique experience and thoroughly recommended when you’re next with us. You can contact the zoo directly to book. Do mention you found out about it via us.
See what other unique experiences we recommend on our website here: