Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou, China, is home to more than sixty rare white tigers, the largest koala breeding center outside Australia, lions, giraffes, pandas (of course), orangutans and myriad other creatures. Recently, these living, breathing animals were joined by four creatures belonging to the species animatronicus: a pair of proboscis monkeys and a mother Sumatran rhino and her calf. Even though they cannot breathe without compressed air, these unusual creatures have the rare distinction of being able to speak and, in the case of mother rhino, sing.
The young calf has quickly earned many young fans for his ability to emit bodily noises on cue. Designed to be seen from behind, his tail swishes from left to right, and up and down; but when it flips up, watch out…the farts come in a variety of pitches, lengths and, er…strengths, to the delight of the youngsters. While her baby entertains the children, the mother rhino, half hidden in bushes, sings, or more properly, hums her tunes; pausing periodically to react to her son’s antics. The humming is an actual recording of a real Sumatran rhino.
Meanwhile, as visitors head toward the newest area of the park,Green Dragon Mountain, they are greeted by Anno and Abu, the two proboscis monkeys. Abu makes his signature call with his long nose, and welcomes the visitors in Chinese, telling them about the magical place they are about to enter. Since Anno speaks English better than Abu, she then translates for the English-speaking guests.
Harold Esposito, Sally’s mechanical department supervisor, recently traveled to China to install Anno, Abu and the two rhinos. He reports that the park is very beautiful and natural: “The animals seem uncaged,” he says, “You can interact with many of them, and some, such as the pandas, live in walk-thru houses where you’re right in the middle of them. It’s a great place to visit, and the staff at Chimelong, both at the Safari Park and the Chimelong Hotel, which is part of the same company and has some white tigers, pandas and flamingos housed there, too, are extremely helpful and make you feel very welcome.”
The four Sally animatronicus are reportedly well and happy in their new home.