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A Fond Farewell to Chopper: Sending off Our Beloved Rhino

The 11 year-old White Rhino is moving to a new facility—and the BioPark prepares to welcome a new rhino in his stead.
June 07, 2024

In support of a recommendation handed down from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the ABQ BioPark is saying goodbye to one of its favorite animals, Chopper, the white rhino.

While Chopper goes off to explore his newly-constructed two acre home, 38-year-old female Bertha will welcome a new companion to Albuquerque. Mashile, 37, is a female who needs to be relocated from her current facility because it's undergoing much-needed renovations. As two senior ladies, they will be an ideal pair!

In honor of Chopper’s big upcoming move, we wanted to share some of his keepers’ fondest memories of the charismatic bull. 

When Chopper first came to the ABQ BioPark, it was because his dam, Lucy, wasn’t letting him nurse. He needed to be bottle-fed by hand, and it was Chaz, a keeper in Hoofstock, that bonded most closely with Chopper.

Lisa from Chopper's animal care team shares her memories of the opinionated young rhino. 

“My memories of Chopper are more of a slide show: when I think of him as a newborn, I just think of how big his feet were!” says Lisa. “Chopper was so full of zoomies, we had to make sure he didn’t hurt us because he didn’t know his own strength! I think of all the bottle feedings we did. And boy, was he so vocal when he was hungry and he saw his bottles! And then I think of him now: he loves people. I feel that Chopper and I have a really strong relationship. He looks to me for attention and scratches. He calms down when he sees me there.”

As for the rest of us here at the BioPark, Lisa sums up how we all feel: “I will miss him greatly, but I also know that this move is a good thing for him. He will have a large grassy field to explore and a whole slew of people to win over.”

To catch a glimpse of Chopper before he embarks on his new adventure, swing by the rhino habitat here at the BioPark Zoo this weekend.