OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — One of Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium's more popular residents is celebrating his birthday this weekend. Marshall, the Indian Rhino, is turning one year old this Sunday, and the zoo is inviting guests to celebrate with him all weekend.
Marshall is the first rhino to be born in the zoo’s 125-year history, and is only one of around 82 Indian Rhinos in the United States and one of 3,600 in the world.
This weekend he is turning one year old and growing up right before his keeper’s eyes.
“It’s amazing, it almost brought me to tears because we go to see him be out there and really interact with a lot of stuff now," said Alex Trujillo who has helped care for Marshall since his birth.
The little guy is still pretty attached to Mom, Hellary, who is making sure to check out his birthday presents this weekend. The gifts mainly consist of veggies and banana peels, some of Marshall's favorites.
President and CEO of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium Dennis Pate, says Marshall was a welcome addition to the zoo community and is loved by those who visit.
“I think it's just the pure love of life that these younger animals have," Pate said. "You see it in young horses and a lot of young animals; they’re a little bit naive about concerns in the world, and they’re free to run around knowing that their mom is there to protect them.”
Marshall still has quite a bit of growing to do, with keepers expecting him to grow another ton. In a couple of year's time, Marshall himself will be part of the species survival plan, adding more Indian Rhinos into the world.
“Those genetics that we’re working on, maybe not in the next year, but maybe down the road, we’ll be able to work with those genetics to help bring captive Indian Rhinos back to a smaller area in India and be able to grow and diverse that population that is stuck in a small place because of habitat loss," said Trujillo.
But for now, he’ll continue sticking close to his mom, chasing his pen mates around and enjoying all his birthday goodies.
Marshall is technically turning one on Sunday, but the zoo is welcoming guests to come celebrate all weekend long.
You can visit Marshall in the Asian Highlands, located in the northeast corner of the zoo.