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Chopper the rhino has birthday bash today at the Zoo.

Chopper the white rhino

Posted October 30, 2013. Photo of Chopper at about four months old courtesy of Brad Wilson.

Tipping the scale at nearly 1,600 pounds, Chopper the white rhino is the biggest zoo baby at the BioPark. His rambunctious personality made him an instant star when he moved to Albuquerque last November. Now 10 times bigger and one year wiser, Chopper continues to be a favorite.

Like any toddler, Chopper liked his giant bottle of Creamland milk and playing with (charging!) his toys, but he would get a little grumpy before nap time. These days, he loves wallowing in the mud, resting in the shade, sparring with exhibit mate Bertha, and chowing down on hay, bananas and sweet potatoes.

Chopper has been a great ambassador for white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum). Walking around with a cardboard box on his head is just one of the antics that endear him to Zoo visitors and engage them in learning more about rhinos and the poachers and habitat loss that threaten them in the wild.

What's your favorite way to celebrate birthday milestones? Tell us and share your rhino photos on Facebook.

Brad Wilson is a commercial and fine art photographer who specializes in portraits. He spent several days photographing animals at the ABQ BioPark for a book of animal portraits coming out in 2014. Watch a video of Brad at work and enjoy more gorgeous animal photography on his website or in the May 2013 issue of New Mexico Magazine.

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