White rhino Satara usually lives at Monarto Zoo in Adelaide
, South Australia
. But on Monday, December 8, he broke free of his enclosure and roamed free for a day before he was tracked down.
The 18-year-old male is thought to have become enraged at attempts to breed his former mate Yhura with a younger bull rhino.
Zoo chief executive Chris West said: "Satara is a teenager who can't control himself and in the grip of testosterone, he had to get out and try to sow his wild oats."
Satara was followed by helicopter during a 12 hour chase across the 2,500 hectare conservation park which only stopped when he was shot with a powerful dose of sedatives.
Even then his ranging hormones kept him going and zoo staff had to think about shooting him with more tranquillizers, a move which could have been fatal for the huge beast.
Because Satara had already fathered two calves, keepers at the zoo had brought in the other bull as a preferred breeding option. However Satara was able to smell the suitor and it seems that this provoked a pique of jealously. He only had one thing on his mind when he broke out of his enclosure.
Mr West added: “Clear we think this is to do with sexual urges. We can say what we think it is, but of course getting into a rhino's brain and understanding what level of emotion is there is quite difficult. They're not hugely intellectual."
Satara weighs in the region of three tons and crazed with lust, he was able to smash through a steel fence and electrified perimeter.
The rhino enclosure will now have to be rebuilt and reinforced after the incident which has also caused the zoo to stop their breeding program with his mate Yhura. Other zoos have also been warned about the possible dangers.
Monarto senior curator Peter Clark said: “That area where he broke through looked fine, but they are very strong animals and for some reason he decided to break it. We can't afford to have that happen again.
“We've fixed up the breach but until we get the fence to a new standard for bulls, we won't be keeping bulls out there.”
Satara was brought to Australia six years ago as part of a captive breeding program after he had been captured in Africa's Kruger National Park.
He is now part of the international breeding program for endangered rhinos at Monarto.
Mr Clark said an exhausted and emotional Satara took a few days to settle down and eat and drink normally again after his outing.
Rhinos are herbivores with a good sense of smell but bad eyesight.