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Aug. 9, 2022

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Disney rhino gets fitness tracker

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Helen, a 30-year-old white rhino, wears a fitness device on her right front leg as she grazes at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom theme park, Monday, May 16, 2022, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The purpose of the fitness device is to gather data on the number of steps she takes each day, whether she is walking, running or napping, and which part of the man-made savanna she favors the most.
Helen, a 30-year-old white rhino, wears a fitness device on her right front leg as she grazes at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom theme park, Monday, May 16, 2022, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The purpose of the fitness device is to gather data on the number of steps she takes each day, whether she is walking, running or napping, and which part of the man-made savanna she favors the most. (AP Photo/John Raoux) Photo Gallery

ORLANDO, Fla. — Someone new is joining the ranks of fitness enthusiasts who monitor the number of steps they take each day with Fitbits and other fitness tracking devices. Only Helen isn’t human: She’s a 30-year-old white rhino at Walt Disney World.

Helen went out onto the savanna at the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction at Animal Kingdom on Monday wearing a fitness device all-day.

The purpose is to gather data on the number of steps she takes each day. The device, about a foot in diameter, has an accelerometer and a GPS tracker and it’s fitted around her ankle.

The data it produces will be shared with more than two dozen other institutions participating in a large research project studying the best ways to care for rhinos at facilities, said Scott Terrell, a veterinarian who is director of Animal & Science Operations, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.

“By doing this research and using this technology, we can really focus in on the physical fitness of the rhinos as a component of their health and well being,” Terrell said.

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