Posted on 18th August 2020 by Media Relations
Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s White Rhino calf, Meeka turned one on Tuesday 18 August 2020. It’s a big milestone for the youngest rhino at the Zoo and the past year has seen Meeka grow not only in size but in confidence as well.
Meeka weighed a modest 74kgs at birth but now weighs around 400kgs. She is still nursing from mum, Mopani but is also eating solid food such as hay and grazing on grass.
“Meeka is an incredibly confident and is quite tenacious. She enjoys interacting with her keepers and will always come over for a scratch and to seek a bit of attention,” said Keeper, Bobby-Jo Vial.
Meeka still spends a lot of time close by her mum Mopani but over the coming months will start to be weaned.
Meeka is one of the members of the White Rhino herd at the Zoo with her mother Mopani, sister Kamiri and Likwezi an older female by her side daily. Taronga Western Plains Zoo also holds three male White Rhinos, one behind-the-scenes and two on the African Savannah exhibit.
“Meeka still has a lot of growing to do and will likely weigh in excess of 1800kgs when she is an adult. She will be fully grown at approximately 6 – 7 years of age,” said Bobby-Jo.
“Mopani has been doing an exceptional job as a mum, she is very experienced and protective of Meeka, and this sometimes can be the catalyst for a bit of rhino drama amongst the herd.”
“Meeka is well aware her 2000kgs mother has her back so will push the boundaries and relationships with Kamiri and Likewizi,” said Bobby-Jo.
Meeka is an ambassador for her species, which are currently under threat in the wild due to poaching and habitat loss. There has been 9000 White Rhinos lose their life for their horns over the past decade, despite the horn being made from keratin which is the same protein found in human hair and nails.