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The Zoo Says Goodbye to Rhino, Mimi

Eastern black rhino Mimi

Posted April 2020

The Zoo is sad to announce one of its female rhinos, Mimi, passed away Thursday, April 16. At an estimated age of 34, Mimi faced health issues like arthritis and weight loss in the last few years, typical of an elderly rhino. Zoo staff monitored her health and quality of life closely, especially in the recent weeks.

Wild born in Zimbabwe, Mimi arrived at MCZ in 2006 from the Center for Conservation of Tropical Ungulates/FIA. While she had no offspring here, she did have two male and one female calf born at other facilities.

Eastern black rhino MimiZookeepers describe her as a somewhat “feisty” and “spitfire” rhino when she first arrived, however through the years, her personality mellowed into an overall gentleness, and she grew comfortable with a number of staff members caring for her like zookeepers, veterinarians and vet techs.

She became a star pupil for training, and participated in many husbandry behaviors like weight checks, blood draws and vaccinations. She also “flirted” with her keepers for back scratches and treats. Her favorite treats were cantaloupe and willow and maple browse. Keepers recall being impressed watching Mimi chew down the extremely large branches she enjoyed so much.

Early on, her personality didn’t allow for an easy match-up with the Zoo’s male rhino, Brewster. She didn’t accept his advances, and at times, Brewster seemed a little afraid of her.

Eastern black rhino MimiMimi will be greatly missed by her caregivers and visitors but remembered for her majestic demeanor in her exhibit. Her primary keeper notes how she always took great pride in sharpening her long, beautiful horns, and that she was playful and enjoying a good quality of life right to the end.

The Zoo is home to 8-year-old female rhino, Jozi, who arrived here in 2016 from the Pittsburgh Zoo.