World Rhino Day 2017 has kicked off in full swing, with the news that one of our Black Rhino females, Bakhita, has been confirmed pregnant with her third calf! The calf is due from the middle of October this year.
“We are delighted with the news of Bakhita’s pregnancy, and what it means for the future of our Black Rhino breeding program here at the Zoo,” said Taronga Western Plains Zoo Acting Director, Nick Boyle.
“Bakhita is the first Black Rhino female to be born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, with her arrival in 2002 being a widely celebrated occasion. She is a much-loved identity in the Rhino family and is the grandmother of Mesi, the Zoo’s five-month-old Black Rhino calf, who was born in April.
“Bakhita was joined for mating with one of Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s founding breeding males, Kwanzaa, in August 2016. Kwanzaa arrived from Milwaukee Zoo in the United States in the mid 1990s and has been a mainstay of the Black Rhino breeding program at Taronga Western Plains Zoo since,” Nick said.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is the only Zoo in Australia to have three species of Rhino including the Black Rhino, White Rhino and Greater One-horned (or Indian) Rhino, each with successful breeding programs. With a rapid decline in Black Rhino numbers resulting from the illegal rhino horn trade in Asia and habitat encroachment, every Black Rhino birth is important.
Taronga actively supports conservation efforts for wild Rhinos in Africa, Indonesia and India, including providing funds and support for habitat protection and reforestation, anti poaching and rhino protection units, and reduction of human-rhino conflict. Taronga is also a founding member of the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), which has championed the survival of the world's Rhinos through conservation and research for 25 years.