In 1956, at Zoo Basel in Basel, Switzerland, "Rudra" became the first ever 'ZooBorn' Indian Rhinoceros. Over the last 55 years, Zoo Basel has heralded births of 32 Rhinos. Despite successful breeding and breeding programs at zoos worldwide, the threat of extinction to these endangered creatures is now more grave than ever. Hunted for their horns by unscrupulous poachers, all Rhino species are increasingly under attack. Zoo Basel plays a crucial role in the European Endangered Species Program (EEP), whose aim is to prevent inbreeding in captive populations by connecting breeding pairs from different bloodlines at zoos the world over. Zoos and animal parks are home to some 190 Rhinos which remind visitors to the urgent plight of their wild counterparts in India and Nepal.
Rudra was the son of Gadadhar and Joymohti. Within two days, he was out on exhibit and his birth was widely documented in newspapers, radio and television around the world. That year, Zoo Basel welcomed a record number of visitors. In all, 32 Rhinos have been born at Zoo Basel, with "Henna", the white-legged Indian Rhino born just last year ebing the youngest. In 1959, Rudra went to the Milwaukee Zoo and fathered his own child before his death in 1987. He is memorialized by a special exhibit in Zoo Basel's Gamgoas house.
Today, protection of rhinos in Africa and Asia is increasingly urgent. This year alone, over 280 Rhinos were killed in Africa. Ruthless poachers have in recent months even stolen Rhino horns from European museums. In many Asian countries, the Rhinoceros horn is regarded as a medical remedy, despite there being no medical evidence to support this. The result is that each day, one or more Rhinos is brutally and needlessly killed.