Forum: Mynahs not a threat to zoo rhinos' health and well-being

We refer to Mr Andrew Wee Kien Han's photo of mynahs perched on our white rhinos, and the comparison he made with oxpeckers (Rhino and mynah relationship may not be as symbiotic as believed, Feb 21).

We thank Mr Wee for his concern. Regular interactions among our boisterous rhinos sometimes result in minor scratches. These wounds may attract insects, which in turn attract mynahs. While a bit pesky to the rhinos, there is no overall health impact.

This type of behaviour also occurs in the wild, where mynahs and other bird species perch on large herbivores to get a vantage point to spot insects that scatter as the large mammals walk by.

The wounds on our white rhino Shova are cleaned daily and sprayed with disinfectant and insect repellent by our animal care team to aid the healing process, which typically takes a couple of weeks.

Shova also coats herself in our mud wallow regularly. This is a natural behaviour of rhinos and provides a barrier for sores and protection from the sun.

We hope this explains the wounds on Shova and the care regime to aid healing.

Luis Carlos Neves (Dr)

Vice-President, Animal Care

Mandai Wildlife Group

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