The rhinos, both acquired during the mid 90’s, have undergone a number of exhibit changes as the zoo has expanded. In the most recent change the rhinos, who previously shared a common exhibit space, were separated because the white rhino exhibited strange anxiety attacks at night when the black rhino would come near. It was observed that the white rhino would gather all of the left over food and hide in the corner of the exhibit, shaking uncontrollably, whenever the black rhino would appear to be approaching after closing hours. Zoo officials tell us there were never any preemptive attacks, although quite common between male rhinos, from the black rhino to the white rhino.
NAACP spokesperson tells us that they seek equal treatment for all things, not just humans. “Just because he is a rhino does not mean he does not deserve an equal change in this world” the NAACP says in a written statement. “What is going on in Little Rock is nothing short of Central High School all over again. Separate and not equal. Bring back consolidation so that these two rhinos can live without the prejudice they see today.”
Zoo officials say that the separation and unequal exhibit sizes are necessary to maintain balance among all animals. “You should of seen the white rhino, he was scared to death. He would shake and hide, we were seriously afraid for his life” a zoo spokesperson tells us. “At first we tried to just separate them, but we learned quickly the black rhino could run considerably faster and jump higher than the white rhino. We were worried this terror would extend to other animals in fear that he would escape, even though he has shown no signs of aggression. Building him a smaller exhibit to limit momentum was the only course of action.”
The NAACP is asking $1 million in upgrades to the black rhino’s exhibit as well as equal square footage. Park officials tell us they plan to either fight the lawsuit or sell the black rhino off to another owner.