Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Christmas -

THE Southern White rhi­nos charged at their keeper, but it was not the food she was hold­ing that caught their at­ten­tion – it was her fes­tive at­tire.

Rhino keeper Kae­lene McKay has been with Perth Zoo for 19 years and de­lighted Mem­phis – one of the zoo’s two rhi­nos – last week with the shiny tin­sel she wore.

While she treated Mem­phis to fresh cel­ery, Ms McKay said the rhi­nos were given a num­ber of en­rich­ment ac­tiv­i­ties over the sea­son to keep their senses sharp and their minds en­ter­tained.

“The rhi­nos get dif­fer­ent an­i­mal scents put in their en­clo­sures; we of­ten put ele­phant poop in the en­clo­sure,” she said. “It just en­cour­ages them to go around and spray their scent back on ev­ery­thing to mark their ter­ri­tory.

“In their trav­els in the wild they’d come across dif­fer­ent an­i­mals, smells and food so we try to emu­late that here.”

But Mem­phis’ favourite fes­tive flavour isn’t found in the wild. “Mem­phis loves pep­per­mint, so if you’re chew­ing some gum he’ll come right up to you and breathe at your face be­cause he loves the smell,” Ms McKay said.

The zoo is open ev­ery day over the Christ­mas sea­son.

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek­mu­ni­ d447035

CHRIST­MAS is the time of year to treat your­self, enjoy the weather and swap presents, and it's no dif­fer­ent for the res­i­dent an­i­mals at Perth Zoo. It is not a se­cret the zookeep­ers love to treat their furry friends, and over the fes­tive sea­son all crea­tures large and small get to in­dulge in hol­i­day cheer. By KAYLEE MARTIN boxes were filled with some of their favourite foods in­clud­ing smashed fruit, veg­eta­bles and in­sects.

“To keep them mentally ac­tive and to make it take a bit longer we’ve stuffed the boxes with wood wool and each treat is in­di­vid­u­ally wrapped in news­pa­per,” Mr Parker said.

To keep their in­tel­li­gent minds en­ter­tained, Mr Parker said the baby orang-utans would be given toys such as swings and tyres.

“On the really hot days we’ve got lit­tle shell pools and we fill them with wa­ter as well,” he said.

“Some­times we even give them a bub­ble bath for some­thing spe­cial.” It’s still just cel­ery for Mem­phis the rhino, but at least rhino keeper Kae­lene McKay serves it with tin­sel.

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son­mu­ni­ d447017

Manna founders John and Bev Lowe will be flat out preparing ham­pers for the home­less and needy dur­ing Christ­mas.

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