Taronga Western Plains Zoo will celebrate World Rhino Day on Saturday 22 September 2012 to raise awareness and support for the plight of the five Rhino species remaining in the wild today.
“Throughout the weekend we will be raising funds for International Rhino Foundation at various keeper talks as well as donating the funds from the jumping castle on Saturday to support Rhinos in the wild,” said Rhino keeper Katie Boyer.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been a long-term supporter and founding member of the International Rhino Foundation. The Zoo provides funding on an annual basis which helps support projects such as trap and snare removal, anti-poaching activities, moving Rhinos to safer areas and education of residents living near Rhino populations.
“Poaching continues to be the major threat responsible for the decline of the species and this has tragically exploded in recent years. In 2007 only 13 Rhinos were poached in South Africa, but in 2011, 448 Rhinos were killed for their horn and poaching only seems to be increasing,” said Katie.
“By simply visiting the Zoo over the weekend people will be able to show their support for Rhinos and support the International Rhino Foundation’s important conservation work in the wild.”
The special Rhino keeper talks will take place on both Saturday and Sunday where visitors can learn more about the species and how they can help ensure Rhinos are around for many years to come.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is home to three of the five Rhino species and has achieved breeding success with Black Rhino and White Rhino and has plans to breed the Greater One-horned Rhino in the future. There has also been encouraging success in IVF work with Black Rhinos, with the Black Rhino embryo created using IVF fertilisation at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in 2008.
The Zoo also provides expertise and support to in-situ conservation projects such as the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, where Zoo Veterinarian Benn Bryant, was recently on hand to assist with the birth of a Sumatran Rhino. There is estimated to be less than 200 Sumatran Rhino left in the wild.