Rihanna the rhino at the Safari Zoo.
(photo credit: RAMAT GAN SAFARI)
When a Ramat Gan Safari guard nodded off to sleep on Thursday morning, three female rhinoceroses managed to clunk their way outside the facility.
The white rhinos – the first two named Keren Peles and Rihanna after the Israeli and American stars – wandered outside during the few moments that an inner gate to their enclosure and outer gate to the facility were left open.
At 6 a.m. on Thursday, Safari CEO Yehuda Bar arrived at the Safari campus, took the keys to the zoo’s African zone from the guard and opened the internal gates to the open African zone, spokeswoman Sagit Horowitz explained.
“At this hour, the outer gate is always open and the CEO is the person who opens the gate to the African zone,” she said.
Just a few minutes later, however, while in his office, Bar received a phone call from the local police informing him that three rhinos had left the Safari’s campus. The rhinos, the police said, were in the parking lot outside the safari, near the exit gate, Horowitz said.
“Presumably in the few minutes that passed between the entrance of the CEO to the Safari until he got to his office, the guard fell asleep,” she continued.
Bar immediately went outside with the guard and they were able to get Rihanna, Keren Peles, and the third rhino, Karnivala, back into the Safari, according to Horowitz.
“Overall, the rhinos were outside about 10 minutes, in which they were in the parking lot adjacent to the entrance and did not enter the national park,” she said.
Aside from Thursday morning’s incident, Ramat Gan Safari rhinoceroses have been making waves lately in the Israeli media. In early November, Tanda – a female rhino suffering from an eye infection – became known for her custom-made mask that allowed her to move about more comfortably.
In September, the same Tanda gave birth to Israel’s first baby rhino in 20 years.