The black rhino, Bakhita will be having her third calf born to the zoo in the middle of October this year. The arrival of the new calf is a huge success for the zoo’s breeding program. Bakhita is the first female black rhino born to the Zoo and is the grandmother to the zoo’s five-month-old black rhino calf, Mesi.
Nick Boyle, the acting director of Taronga Western Plains Zoo, is pleased with the breeding program’s success.
“Bakhita was joined for mating with one of Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s founding breeding males, Kwanzaa, in August 2016. Kwanzaa arrived from Milwaukee Zoo in the United States in the mid-1990s and has been a mainstay of the Black Rhino breeding program at Taronga Western Plains Zoo since,” Nick said.
Currently, Taronga Western Plains Zoo is the only zoo in Australia to house three different species of rhino. All three species, the black rhino, white rhino and greater one-horned or indian rhino, have all had successful breeding programs.
Image: Taronga Western Plains Zoo
The birth of the new black rhino is particularly important as the species has seen a massive decline in numbers as a result of illegal poaching for their coveted horn and the destruction of their habitat.
Taronga is at the forefront of conservation efforts for rhinos such as Bakhita and her wild siblings in Africa, Indonesia and India. By providing funds and support to the protection of the rhino’s habitat and anti-poaching units, they are hoping to revive a species before it’s too late.
Taronga is a founding member of the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) a group that has been operating for 25’s years.
Watch the announcement live here:
National Geographic streamed the announcement LIVE fromTaronga Western Plains Zoo with host Hayden turner and zoo keeper Tarryn Williams.
Lead image: Taronga Western Plains Zoo