Meet Macite, she’s the oldest rhino living in captivity in the world and she just celebrated her 50th birthday at Audubon Zoo!
Senior keeper at Audubon Zoo EJ Nuss says, “Macite is so friendly you would never know she was a 4,500lb animal.”
To keep up her figure this Southern White Rhino downs 30lbs of grains a day, and most of the time she’s cool, calm and collected.
“She has some seniority when it comes to the group. She knows where she stands and she knows that she’s got the experience,” says Audubon Zoo’s Bridget Collins-Lyman.
Macite shares her home with two other rhinos, Saba a male, and Yvonne a female. It may look like her job is to attract crowds, but she’s actually got a bigger plate to fill.
Macite first met WGNO’s Vanessa Bolano two years ago. Bolano was shooting a rhino love story and Macite was the star. Macite actually taught the two rhinos that were already at Audubon Zoo how to mate and because of her, they’ve had a baby.
Saba and Yvonne had created a friendship bond. After some flirting on Macite’s part you could say she heated things up between the pair.
In captivity most rhinos live to their mid to upper 40′s. The oldest one on record was 53. In the wild, their only predators are humans who hunt them for their horns. Unfortunately, in the past three years poaching has increased by 200%.
“They think that the horn has medicinal purposes; that it can cure cancer and be used for aphrodisiacs, but there’s no truth in that. It’s all keratin, just like your finger nails and what your hair is made out of,” explains Nuss.
But for some arthritis Macite is healthy, safe, and continues to teach her roommates at Audubon Zoo about the birds and the bees.