Rhinos are creatures of habit. 24 hours with Apollo will remind you of this fact: He likes to anchor his days with very specific morning and evening routines — and he is loath to deviate from them! Early in the morning, right after he’s finished his milk bottles, he has a long drink at the water tap by the stockades. There are plenty of places to get cold, fresh water around Kaluku, but Apollo insists upon this particular location.
Before going home in the evening, Apollo stops by the small pond near our Field Operations Manager’s house. Because of the ongoing dry conditions, lots of wildlife visit this pond, including impalas, kudus, bushbucks, zebras, and even hippos. Apollo enjoys sniffing around, almost as if to verify that he is happy with the visitors. Before continuing on to his stockade, he scratches his tummy on a particular rock next to the pond. This actually creates a bit of a plumbing issue, as without fail, he dislodges the ball valve that controls the flow of water into the pond!
Rhinos have notoriously poor eyesight and instead rely on their keen sense of smell and acute hearing. Because of all the wild visitors filtering through, Apollo is presented with an olfactory feast every day. He seems particularly interested in examining fresh elephant dung and their tracks. The Keepers are always impressed by how far he can follow their scent, sending everyone on quite a hike through the bush as he doggedly sniffs the herd’s tracks.
Much to the relief of his Keepers, Apollo seems to be over his hotheaded stage. However, he still gets periodic bursts of energy that send him hurtling in all directions. One of his favourite places to let off steam is the airstrip. If he’s feeling rambunctious, he targets the herds of zebras or antelope who are sedately browsing there. It makes for quite a sight: the little rhino chasing a rather bemused group of creatures across the runway, leaving a cloud of red dust in his wake!