The birth of Australia’s first Greater One-horned Rhino calf on October 25, 2015 is a landmark for Taronga Western Plains Zoo and global rhinoceros conservation.
It marks the beginning of the third rhinoceros breeding program at the Zoo, in addition to those for the Black Rhino and the White Rhino.
The Zoo may be the first in the world to have three successful breeding programs for rhinoceros operating concurrently.
The male calf is doing extremely well. He’s been seen suckling and staying very close to first-time-mother, Amala. He was sired by Dora, a male from our sister zoo, Nagoya Higashiyama.
This birth is a result of years of tireless work from our dedicated Keepers who successfully introduced the pair and carefully monitored and cared for Amala during her 15 month pregnancy. I congratulate them on their work and this outstanding achievement.
It also emphasises the husbandry and veterinary skills which underpin Taronga’s conservation programs, backed by outstanding scientific research which lead recently to the first successful IVF fertilisation of a Black Rhinoceros egg.
Beyond the Zoo, we actively support conservation efforts for our rhino’s wild cousins in Africa, Indonesia and India, providing funds and support for habitat protection and reforestation. We are also proud founding members of the International Rhinoceros Foundation, through which we help fund monitoring and anti-poaching patrols in Zimbabwe and provide important veterinary treatment.
Every visitor to the Zoos, which are not-for-profit, helps support this and other work done by our staff for wildlife.
This partnership with the community is vital as we seek to help create a sustainable future for people and wildlife.
Sophisticated organised crime syndicates have devastated Rhino numbers in the wild. Every 9 to 11 hours a rhino is slaughtered just for its horn. Rhino horns are made out of keratin, the same material that’s in our fingernails, but myths prevail about its use in traditional medicines and as a powerful status symbol.
We’re serious about wildlife conservation, and this birth gives us some hope to celebrate that there can be a future for all Rhino species.
With as few at 2,700 Greater One-horned Rhinos in the wild, this birth is critically important to help secure the future for these remarkable creatures.
Executive Director, Taronga Conservation Society Australia
IRF Board Member