Date 24 /01/ 2011

Phila, the Black Rhino achieves a three-month milestone.

Most thought that Phila, the Black Rhino would not survive her ordeal last year. Johannesburg Zoo was particularly concerned that Phila may not survive her injuries, potential secondary infections and complications caused by bullets still lodged in her nose and leg. The zoo was also worried about the stress caused by translocation, relocating to a new environment, new diet and interacting with people. It was estimated that she would need at least three months in the zoo to show any signs of recovery

Tomorrow, the 25 January 2011, marks the day that Phila would have reached that milestone. Phila has been doing very well through-out, feeding well, regained the use of some of her senses, especially her hearing and sight, she has become much calmer and friendlier towards people and her wounds are healing.

On the same day, Tuesday 25 January 2011, the zoo will take Phila's husbandry to the next level and introduce toys to enhance her welfare. The toys are meant to elongate her foraging period, give her additional chores and to keep her entertained.

Phila continues to contribute to the awareness of the plight of Black Rhino in that she survived her ordeal and is now seen as a mascot promoting education to our visitors. Her stay at Johannesburg Zoo afforded people an opportunity to see one of the implications of rhino poaching. The zoo hopes that she recovers fully and participate in an active breeding program.

Black Rhino�s continue to be persecuted, especially in South Africa (SA). Last year alone, there were 333 rhino's and 7 Black Rhino's lost to poaching in South Africa. Zimbabwe and Mozambique are also experiencing the same losses to a lesser extent. Black Rhinos are now classified as critically endangered and it is estimated that there are now only 1700 Black Rhino's in SA.

Prepared and issued by Letta Madlala, Brand & Communications Manager on behalf of the Johannesburg Zoo. Most stats were provided by Mr. Faan Coetzee, Project Executant-Rhino Security Project of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. END.

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