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Rubber Mats for the Rhinos of Hamilton Zoo

Hamilton, Waikato

In October 2016, Hamilton Zoo began its search for sturdy matting to cover the concrete floors in their Rhinoceros enclosure.

Traditionally set on concrete, the old enclosure surfacing was hard, uncomfortable, and difficult to clean for Zoo staff.

Aaron Gilmore, Team Leader of Ungulates at the Zoo was looking for rubber matting to solve these problems – “we were trying to find nice soft matting for the Rhino – something we could keep clean.”

Aaron had done a bit of research and discovered that many dairy farms use rubber matting to improve cow comfort in and around the dairy shed. He wondered if the product would be suitable for larger animals too.

“All the Rhino enjoy the large space to lay on.”

- Aaron Gilmore, Team Leader Ungulates at Hamilton Zoo

However, with an average weight of 1900 kgs and occupying the space of a small car, Aaron knew that finding matting strong enough to hold his Rhinos would be a tough task.

It was while trawling the internet for options that Aaron came across Numat (he would later run into the Numat team at Fieldays Mystery Creek). Aaron liked the fact that Numat had a wide range of matting options, and they were all tough and durable.

After chatting with Numat Agri Specialist, Anthony Garton, Aaron settled on Kura mat as the best option for the job. At 25mm thick and with a tight interlock, Kura is strong and durable – and the Numat team assured Aaron it was the perfect mat for his Rhinos.

Numat installed the matting in January of 2017 and positive results were seen immediately – “It didn’t take long at all; all the Rhino enjoy the large space to lay on.”

Since then, it has worked extremely well. The Rhinos enjoy the comfortable mats for sleeping on and Aaron and his team like the fact that they can be replaced in parts if needed.

In time, Aaron hopes to be able to provide the same sort of comfort to the rest of his Rhinos and some of the other animals at the Zoo – “I’m wanting to put Numat in four other Rhino yards as the first one has worked so well. I’m very happy with the matting and would like to do more in the Zoo with different animals.”

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