Uhuru is a black rhinoceros that was born at the Fort Worth Zoo in 2001. Abilene Zoo fans and regulars might recognize Uhuru as he came to the Abilene Zoo and lived there from 2008 until 2014 when he went to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. He came back to Abilene earlier this year.

The rhino spends lots of time visiting with zoo guests daily. I'm a huge fan of hippos and rhinos, and this guy caught my attention in 2009 when I first saw him at the Abilene Zoo. He is the friendliest rhino I have ever encountered. I've seen about a dozen rhinos in my lifetime at zoos throughout the United States. I keep telling my wife I want a rhino for a pet. I'd name him Pinocchio.

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Uhuru is pronounced "ooh-who-roo", and if you think he doesn't know his name, just visit him at the zoo and call out his name. You'll see that twinkle in his eye. While I would love to have a pet rhino, it's important to note that black rhinoceroses are an endangered species, and their conservation is focused on protecting them and restoring their original habitats in Africa and Asia.

Having a rhino here in Texas is great, although Texan and African weather differ greatly. Rhinos prefer hot climates with access to water and plenty of vegetation, are solitary animals, and are extremely territorial. When it comes to feeding they are more browsers than grazers, which may explain their friendly personality.

Finally, black rhinos have bad eyesight but a very keen sense of smell which can alert them to danger but, more importantly, help them find that tasty chef salad you're hiding in your backpack. Looking for something fun to do this summer? Visit my friend Uhuru the black rhino at the Abilene Zoo.

LOOK: Meet Uhuru the Texas-born black rhino

LOOK: The Abilene Zoo From A to Z

Here's a close-up look at the animals that call the Abilene Zoo home.

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