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Taronga Western Plains Zoo celebrates birth of critically endangered Black Rhino calf

Taronga Western Plains Zoo celebrates birth of critically endangered Black Rhino calf
March 10, 2021

Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo is celebrating the birth of a critically endangered Black Rhino calf, born in late February 2021.

Keepers arrived at work in the early hours of the morning on 24th February to find the female calf standing beside mother Bakhita in the Zoo’s behind-the-scenes calving yard.

Keepers are currently monitoring Bakhita and her calf via CCTV cameras to allow them plenty of space to develop their bond and ensure both mother and calf remain calm.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo Director, Steve Hinks notes “this is the fourth calf for experienced mother Bakhita, who is the Zoo’s most successful Black Rhino breeding female and also the first female Black Rhino born here.

“This calf is especially important as it carries the legacy of our Black Rhino breeding bull, Kwanzaa who sadly passed away in 2020.

“Kwanzaa played a prominent role in the Black Rhino conservation breeding program here in Dubbo, siring four calves, and it is such a great feeling to see his final calf arrive safely.”

Both mum and calf are doing well and will remain behind-the-scenes for the next couple of months. This time is important for both mum and calf to bond and to allow the calf to grow and develop before making the move to the Black Rhino paddock on the Zoo circuit.

Hinks added “the team will provide regular updates on our newest addition via Taronga TV and social media while the calf is behind-the-scenes.

“Our team that care for this species here at the Zoo are experts in their field and this latest success is a testament to their knowledge, husbandry skills and dedication in conserving this remarkable species.”

Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been very successful in breeding Black Rhinos throughout the history of the conservation breeding program which commenced in the 1990s. This is the fourth calf born into the program in the last six years.

Black Rhinos are currently listed as critically endangered with estimates that there are less than 6000 remaining in the wild.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is internationally renowned for its Black Rhino conservation breeding program and actively funds and supports conservation efforts for wild rhinos in Africa, Indonesia and India. Funding and support for habitat protection and restoration, anti-poaching and rhino protection units and the reduction of human-animal conflict are all vital to ensure Rhino species will continue to survive in the wild.

Image courtesy of Taronga Conservation Society Australia 

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