Zoo: Rhino birth a sign of hope

2013-05-21 07:34
Rhino calf. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Rhino calf. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - An Australian zoo said on Tuesday the birth of a southern white rhinoceros was a "sign of hope" for the species given the escalation of poaching in Africa.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo said the yet-to-be-named male calf was born to first-time mother Mopani in the safari-style animal park in Dubbo, 400km west of Sydney, on 14 May.

"It seems the first rain we had in Dubbo in a number of months helped bring on the birth of this calf, which was spotted by a staff member on Tuesday morning," senior keeper Pascale Benoit said.

Taronga said every birth was important given unprecedented poaching in Africa, with close to 2 000 rhinos estimated to have been slaughtered since 2006, resulting in population growth slumping to some of the lowest levels in decades.

"He is a sign of hope to all of us to help stop the worst rhino poaching crisis in half a century," Taronga chief executive Cameron Kerr said.

The zoo hopes the delivery heralds a new start for its breeding programme after it suffered the devastating loss of four white rhino from a mysterious illness which caused neurological abnormalities.

Poaching

The cause of the disease has never been determined.

Mopani contracted the illness while pregnant but survived to give birth to the healthy 45kg - 50kg calf.

Zoo general manager Matt Fuller said nine white rhino had been born at the facility since 2003 but the latest was "incredibly special" given the recent escalation in poaching, driven by demand from Asia for rhino horn.

"We are hearing that in excess of 300 animals have succumbed this year already," he said.

"If that's to continue then very soon, in fact something like 2015 or 2016, we will be seeing a tipping point where the deaths brought on by illegal poaching and hunting outweigh the number of births that are happening in the wild.

"And that really puts rhinos on one clear path, and that is the path toward extinction."

The zoo's rhino are southern whites, the less endangered of the two white rhinoceros species. There are estimated to be some 20 000 southern whites surviving in the wild, according to environmental group WWF.
Read more on:    rhino poaching

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.