30 July 2008
Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are delighted by the news that another Southern White Rhinoceros female is pregnant.
International Reproductive Experts from the International Zoo and Wildlife Research Institute in Berlin confirmed the pregnancy of Aluka, the White Rhinoceros via ultrasound during their recent visit to Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
"It is fantastic news to see that Aluka is pregnant, everyone is very excited about the prospect of another White Rhino calf here at the Zoo," said keeper Pascale Benoit.
"We have had great success with our breeding program for Southern White Rhinoceros at the Zoo and this pregnancy just builds on our achievements to date," said Pascale.
"From the ultrasound we can determine that Aluka is approximately three - four months pregnant with the gestation period of a White Rhinoceros being 16 - 18 months," said Pascale.
Aluka is one of the five Southern White Rhinoceros that were transported from Kruger National Park in South Africa to add important genetic diversification to the Zoo's herd.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo plays a significant role in the regionally coordinated breeding program for the Southern White Rhinoceros and is one of the leading institutes in the management of this species.
The Southern White Rhinoceros is considered endangered after having been on the brink of extinction. At the start of the 20th Century, there were no more than 200 Southern White Rhinos left in the wild. International conservation, research and breeding programs have boosted numbers and now the Southern White Rhinoceros is the most abundant species of rhinoceros however, poaching pressure is still intense.
Visitors to Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo can currently see our most recent White Rhino calf, Nadira born in early April who is on exhibit with her mother and the rest of the White Rhinoceros herd.
White Rhinoceros, Ceratotherium simum: The White Rhinoceros is the second largest land mammal behind Elephants. They are recognisable by their square lip and grey skin colour. The White Rhinoceros are sociable animals and are usually found in herds unlike the Black Rhinoceros. White Rhinoceros were distributed over much of the perennial grasslands of tropical Africa but are now limited to a few areas in south east Africa, south of the Zambezi and also in north-east Africa, west of the Nile. The gestation period for White Rhinoceros is 16 months.
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