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Positively Philadelphia: Philly Zoo's White Rhino Is An 'Ellen' Fan!

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Philadelphia has the biggest Ellen DeGeneres fan in the entire country -- literally.

"The keeper in that area says every day at 3 o'clock, when the 'Ellen' show comes on, Tony runs over to the wall and starts watching the television," says Christine Bartos, the curator of ungulates at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Tony is the zoo's 4,500-pound white rhinoceros.

"He'll be over on the side, eating, and he'll come over to the side of the stall where the TV is and he'll stand there and listen," says Bartos.

I could understand if he wanted to watch "Animal Planet" because he wanted to check up on his buddies. But the Ellen show?

"We think it's her voice," says Bartos, "because their vision is not that great. But their hearing is very acute."

And she says in her 27 years as a curator, this is a first.

"I have never seen an animal that was that interested in a television show."

Tony is now in his new digs at the zoo, cohabitating with the zebras. But zebras apparently don't like television, so no worries about who gets the remote.

"For a lot of the animals at the zoo, we use radios and televisions when they are in their indoor housing, particularly in the winter," Bartos explains. "They get to see things and it also provides background noise."

Those radios -- they're tuned to KYW Newsradio, right?

"Of course! It's the people's voices, because he likes people. So, yes he's very interested in having KYW on."

So, big guy, if you're listening to KYW right now -- and I'm positive you are -- this report is dedicated to you!

Hear Lauren Lipton's full interview with Philadelphia Zoo curator Christine Bartos in this CBS Philly podcast...


That's Positively Philadelphia!

Reported by Lauren Lipton, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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