Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Have You Hugged A Rhino Today?

I did not get to hug a rhino but I did get to pet one. It was an interesting experience, his skin was soft and hard at the same time. His name is "Jericho" and he lives at "Out of Africa, Wildlife Park" 3505 W. SR-260, Camp Verde, AZ. This is near Cottonwood, AZ.

Rick arranged a special back scenes tour for us. The owner, Dean, was our guide and we were the only two on the tour that morning, lucky us! We talked of travel to Africa, the animals, rescuing them, and learning to understand their behaviors. Dean and his wife Prayeri have been taking in animals for many years. Some come from circuses, shows in Vegas, or from people who thought owning a baby tiger was a good idea. They take in animals that are retiring from show business, that need that last forever home. Many of the animals share spaces together, some prefer to live alone.

Jericho is a southern white rhinoceros, the white has nothing to do with the color. The Dutch called this type of rhino, "wijd" it was misunderstood as the word white, but translated in English means "wide", referring to it's wide mouth, used for grazing.

Dean & Prayeri have spent years creating special bonds with the animals at the Park. They do not train them to do tricks but they allow them to do what comes natural to them. The animals respond with respect and affection. As seen when Dean went into the wolf area and they came running to him for tummy rubs. They are not dogs but they displayed that same behavior of happiness for their humans.

If you would like to learn more about them here is the web site:

Jericho white rhino

Dean with wolf

Reticulated Giraffe 

Nilgai Antelope

Up close feeding zebra treats 
Tiger - one of several 

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