Rocking around the Christmas veg

Zookeepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo have revealed the only youngster in the UK guaranteed to eat all of their Christmas greens this year – Zhiwa, a greater one-horned rhino calf.  

Keepers at the UK’s largest zoo created a festive feast for Behan and her one-year-old calf Zhiwa, displaying the rhino’s favourite Christmas vegetables on a plate of banana leaves – ensuring the little one had a yummy dessert too. 

Team leader, Mark Holden said: “With so many people’s plans thrown into disarray, we are determined to spread some cheer this Christmas for animals and people alike. For our rhinos, carrots, cabbage, and a big pile of hay are the perfect festive feast, with banana leaves as a sweet treat.” 

Although newly-imposed Tier 4 restrictions mean ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s doors are closed to visitors for the third time this year, zookeepers, vets, and essential staff will continue to go to work to ensure the zoo’s precious animals are well cared for this Christmas – including ensuring they eat a varied diet! 

Mark added; “Unlike many parents, Behan has no trouble getting her little one to eat the Christmas veg on her plate. She particularly enjoys the carrots because she can playfully toss them around before crunching on them. 

“Our not-so-little one weighs more than forty times the average toddler at 500 kg (78 ½ stone) and eats over four tonnes of greens a year. Santa certainly delivered for the rhino-ho-ho this year and maybe some children will be inspired by Zhiwa’s love of veg.” 

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is currently closed to the public, in accordance with government guidance. Reliant on income from ticket sales to continue its global conservation efforts, ZSL, the charity behind Whipsnade Zoo is asking the public to consider making a donation this Christmas – with all donations doubled until 4 January, thanks to a generous donor. 

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