We’re excited to announce a name for female Southern Black Rhinoceros calf – ‘Mesi’! The name Mesi means ‘smoke’ in the South African Sotho language, and was decided on by Zoo Keepers following a vote in July.
As the first offspring for mother Kufara, Mesi’s birth on 11 April marks the third generation of Southern Black Rhino to be born at the Zoo in Dubbo. Both are doing very well and Kufara is continuing to show a very strong maternal instinct towards her calf.
Zoo Keepers have developed a small ‘creep’ yard in the enclosure – a fence opening large enough for Mesi to pass through, but too small for Kufara. This allows Mesi to get close to Keepers and grow accustomed to their presence, whilst Kufara comfortably eats hay nearby. By encouraging Mesi to interact closely with Zoo Keepers from a young age, we can develop a bond that will mean Mesi is comfortable with us as she continues to grow and develop into an adult Rhino.
Kufara and Mesi will remain behind the scenes as they continue to bond and gain in confidence, and are expected to make their public debut in August.
Southern Black Rhinoceros are critically endangered with only an estimated 4000 in the wild, predominantly due to poaching. Taronga is a founding member of the International Rhino Foundation, and actively supports conservation efforts for wild rhinos in Africa, Indonesia and India in areas including habitat protection, anti-poaching and reduction of human-rhino conflict.