Greater One-horned Rhino calf makes public debut

Greater One-horned Rhino calf makes public debut

#Animals, #Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo

Posted on 14th December 2021 by Media Relations

Eight week old Greater One-horned Rhino calf Hari has made his public debut alongside his mother Amala, as the pair explore a large paddock visible to guests at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.

Hari has been developing well behind the scenes since his birth on 17 October and has grown in size as well as confidence. Mother Amala is still very protective of her calf and the pair have developed a strong bond.

“Hari regularly suckles from mum which is important as this is his main source of food and nutrients. Whilst he isn’t ready for solid food just yet, he is trying to pick things up including sticks and bits of fruit left over from Amala which is good to see,” said Rhino keeper Toby Stewart.

Hari is estimated to weigh around the 100kg mark at present and will reach an impressive two tonnes by the time he is fully grown.

“Greater One-horned Rhinos are not the heaviest of the Rhino species, that honour goes to White Rhinos. They are, however, the tallest of the rhino species standing at almost 2 metres at the shoulder,” said Toby.

Amala and Hari now have access to a large paddock and can be seen by zoo guests a short walk from The Waterhole precinct. The pair have been observed galloping around the paddock first thing in the morning as well as spending time wallowing in the mud.

“Hari seems to have a lot of energy as soon as he heads out into the paddock and he keeps running after Amala has stopped. He’ll then come back to her and give her a nudge and try to have a little spar with her.”

“On a warm day guests may see the pair wallowing in the mud. Wallowing not only helps keep rhinos cool on a hot summer’s day but is also how they protect their skin from insect bites and the sun, with the mud acting as a sunscreen,” said Toby. 

Amala and Hari can be seen in their paddock between 9:30am – 12:30pm daily.

Keepers have also been spending time with the calf in what is called a ‘creep’ area. This is a small area attached to Amala and Hari’s behind the scenes yard. Hari has the option to come into the area and interact with Zoo Keepers if he chooses to, whilst mum Amala eats her breakfast nearby.

“We don’t encourage him into this space but rather allow him to come in under his own steam. He can leave whenever he wants to return to mum,” said Toby. “This time with Hari is really important as it allows us to not only build a rapport with him from a young age, but also keep a close eye on him to make sure he is keeping healthy. This process helps create a bond between the keeper and calf and will go a long way in the future when he is an adult rhino,” said Toby.

Hari the Greater One-horned Rhino calf Photo: Rick Stevens
Hari the Greater One-horned Rhino calf Photo: Rick Stevens