- Southern White Rhino
- Scimitar-horned Oryx
- African Elephant
The Grant's zebra is one of the most recognizable of the African hoof-stock. No two zebras are marked exactly the same and stripe patterns also vary from species to species. Zebras live in family units, called harems, of five to 20 members. These families typically consist of a stallion, several mares and their foals. Family members recognize each other by stripe patterns, voice and scent. Zebras gather in large herds during migration to new grazing areas. If a predator approaches, Grant's zebras will gather together so that the predator cannot distinguish individuals among the maze of stripes.
Memphis Zoo is home to 2 Grant’s Zebra--Daisy and Violet. They live in a mixed species exhibit with our Rhinos and Oryx. There are 3 main species of Zebra: Plains, Mountain, and Grant’s. Grant’s Zebra are the smallest subspecies of Plains Zebra. The answer to the most popular question is Zebras are really black with white stripes and Zebras have black skin with black & white striped hair!
Southern White Rhino
Southern white rhinoceroses are one of five rhino species. There are currently around 11,000 Southern white rhinos in the world today, making it the most abundant rhino subspecies. However, they are critically endangered. Rhinos can weigh up to three tons and run up to 30 miles an hour. Although they are called “white” rhinos, there is no distinguishable color differences between them and their cousins, the “black” rhinos. English speakers confused the Afrikaans word “wiet,” meaning wide, and referring to their wide snout, with “white,” the color.
Memphis Zoo is home to 2 Southern White Rhinos-- Maggie & Kito. Both rhinos can be seen napping together frequently during the day or enjoying getting muddy in their wallow. They live in a mixed species exhibit with our Zebra and Oryx. Rhinos like to wallow in mud to help keep cool and protect their skin from the sun and insects. Rhinos are strictly herbivores and with their mouths situated very low to the ground, they primarily graze on grass. There are five total species of Rhino--2 species located in Africa (White Rhinos and Black Rhinos), 2 subspecies of White Rhinos (Northern White Rhinos & Southern White Rhinos). Northern White Rhinos are almost extinct, there are only 2 females remaining in the population.
Kito, the male, was born at Tampa’s Lowery Park Zoo in 2010. Kito, pronounced “key-toe,” is a Swahili word, meaning “precious jewel.” Maggie was born at White Oak, a conservation compound, in Florida.
The Scimitar-horned oryx - Oryz dammah - is named for its long, curved horns. These animals can sense rain from far away. They will travel up to fifty miles to feed on the fresh vegetation sprouted from a rain shower.
The oryx featues white fur with a brown neck on both genders and is extremely resilient to hot climates. Originally inhabiting North Africa's barren steppes, desert and sub-desert zones, oryx can manage internal temperatures of up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit which allows them not to sweat extensively. This helps them conserve water and, as a result, allows them to live without water for days at a time.
Memphis Zoo is home to 3 Scimitar Oryx—Louise, Ruth, and Inez. They live in a mixed species exhibit with our Rhinos and Zebra. This species was confirmed extinct in the wild in the year 2000. Thanks to captive breeding programs, 21 individuals were reintroduced back into the wild in 2016. This new population has started breeding again. Historically they would inhabit desert regions in Northern Africa. Their white coats reflect the sun’s rays to help keep them cool. The myth of the One-Horned Unicorn may have originated from Scimitar Oryx sightings. Fun fact: from certain angles they may seem to have 1 horn instead of 2!
Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata
Reticulated giraffes are some of the most majestic animals in Africa. With their long necks, intricate patterns and graceful movements, they are impressive creatures of the savannah. There are actually several species of giraffes, mostly distinguished by their varying patterns. Reticulated giraffes are known for the polygon shapes made by the brown and white pattern of their fur.
About Memphis Zoo's giraffes
Memphis Zoo has six giraffes- “Niklas”, “Angela Kate”, “Wendy”, “Maliki”, “Ali”, and "Lily". Our giraffes enjoy snacking on browse, lettuce, and fruit.
Least concern, but population decreasing
Africa – south of the Sahara desert
Enjoys browsing leaves of acacia trees.
Giraffes are most easily distinguished by their very long neck. They have large, polygonal brown spots outlined by a network of white lines
The tallest land animal – can reach heights of 14 to 18 feet.
African elephants are the largest living land animal and are distinctly different from their cousins, the Asian elephant. The easiest way to tell the difference is by their ears. An African elephant’s ears, interestingly enough, are shaped like the continent of Africa. Elephants are very social animals, typically living in organized herds with one matriarch.
About Memphis Zoo's elephants
Memphis Zoo is home to five female African elephants, "Gina," "Asali," "Daisy," "Kosti" and "Bambi." Asali, whose name means "honey" in Swahili, has a pink birthmark on one of her legs. Gina has one tusk. Bambi, pronounced "Bom-bee," never grew tusks. Daisy has two steel-caps protecting her fragile tusks.
Memphis Zoo has been supporting the charity Elephants for Africa (EfA) since 2011. Through the approval of four different CAN Grants, we have been able to supply EfA with many different resources to aid in their efforts of monitoring the elephant population in Botswana, as well as helping mitigate human-elephant conflict. We have supplied them with GPS units, iPod touches for data entry, funds to pay for chili peppers to help prevent elephants from crop raiding local villages, as well as several trail cameras to help monitor elephant movement within the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Through the approval of these CAN Grants, we are also getting ready to send our fourth elephant keeper from the Memphis Zoo to Botswana to assist EfA with their efforts in the field.
We have been hosting Art for Elephants annually since 2012. Through the sale of our Art for Elephants T-Shirts, and the proceeds from our silent auction, we have raised nearly $25,000 for EfA.
We recently made a commitment to EfA to help financially support an elephant corridor project they are currently working on. EfA is working with local agencies in Botswana to help layout elephant corridors (or elephant highways if you will) as a means to help mitigate human-elephant conflict. Memphis Zoo has also agreed to be EfA's partner AZA institution on an AZA grant they have applied for to help fund this project as well. They will find out in September if that grant was approved or not.
Vulnerable, population increasing. 96 elephants are killed every day in Africa. You can stop it. Visit http://www.96elephants.org/.
Mainly found south of the Sahara desert.
Primarily herbivores – Memphis Zoo elephants can eat as much as 170 lbs of hay in one day.
Distinguishing Characteristics: Elephants have gray, wrinkly skin and long trunks. African elephants are most easily distinguished by the shape of their heads and ears.
These massive animals can grow to be 15,000 lbs and as tall as 13 ft at the shoulder.