Species: White rhino
Age: 18 months
Reason for Visit: Horn Injury
If you have visited the Virginia Zoo recently, you may have noticed that the indoor viewing windows for the rhino barn have been covered. The boards were on the windows to give Mosi and his mom Zina privacy as Mosi was recovering for an injury sustained to his horn on Thursday, January 19th. It is unclear exactly how the injury occurred as the event was not directly witnessed, but horn injuries like this are not uncommon, especially in juveniles, as their horns are still developing. Mosi has been closely monitored by the Africa zookeepers and veterinary staff over the last few days. Zoo staff have also been in contact with other facilities that have had similar experiences to ensure we are providing him with the best care possible.
As you can see from the pictures, this injury did result in Mosi’s horn falling off. Rhino horns are made of keratin, much like our fingernails, so this type of injury is very similar to us losing a nail. Like our fingernails, Mosi’s horn will grow back and we do not anticipate any long-term health issues. We are estimating that the horn will take around 8-9 months to re-grow to its previous size.
The Zoo is very excited to announce that the window coverings have come down and Mosi and Zina will be back on exhibit in the smaller holding yard starting today, January 26. They will remain separated from the other two adults, Mosi’s aunt, Bora, and his dad, Sibindi, until Zoo staff are confident that the affected area has fully healed. Mosi loves to play spar with both Bora and Sibindi, so we are taking every precaution to prevent further injuries during the healing process while providing Mosi and Zina with access to the outside space.