Taronga Western Plains Zoo Statement
Wednesday 21st March 2012

Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s General Manager, Matt Fuller, said he was disappointed by some negative claims made to media today as the zoo was leading a global veterinary investigation into the recent deaths of four White Rhinoceros after the onset of a neurological illness.

Mr Fuller said the ongoing investigation would continue to have the complete focus of Zoo resources, and its methodology had the full support of the respected International Rhinoceros Foundation, the NSW Chief Veterinary Officer and RSPCA NSW.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo has operated a husbandry and breeding program for White Rhinos for 30 years and it’s known to be one of the most successful in Australasia and around the globe. The zoo-based herd was healthy, and socially high-functioning prior to the recent illness, and the level of care given to them was universally excellent. There is no suggestion that stress played a role.

Mr Fuller said that any negative public comment  and campaigning was particularly distasteful at a time when zoo staff were grieving the loss of animals to which they’d provided a lifetime of care.

Both Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoos are proud of their track records in conducting vitally important conservation breeding programs for endangered species including Sumatran Tigers, Black Rhinoceros, Asian Elephants, Tasmanian Devils, Przewalski’s Horse and many others.

The United Nations in October 2012 announced that world zoos were crucial in global endeavours as part of the common battle to save wildlife on the planet.