On March 6 a female Southern White Rhino calf was born at Hamilton Zoo in New Zealand, the sixth to be born at the facility and the seventh to be bred there. The new calf is the second for mother Moesha, age 18, and the fourth for father Kruger, age 23. The "little" one brings the zoo’s current herd population to seven.
Hamilton Zoo Team Leader of Mammals Samantha Kudeweh, said the birth of the calf is significant for the species as a whole. “Zoo populations have an important role to play in the conservation of species such as rhinos,” she said. “Rhinos bred and housed in zoos, such as this new calf, serve as ambassadors for wild populations and conservation projects, as well as provide genetically sound reserve populations in case of major decline in range states.”
Southern white rhino have been a major success story of wildlife conservation – while their numbers were reduced to less than 100 animals in the early 1900s, conservation efforts have seen the wild population increase to over 20,000 as at the end of 2010. A recent boom in the black market price for rhino horn has been driven by its perceived value as a traditional Asian medicine remedy and has resulted in a dramatic increase in poaching over the past two years.
Photo Credit:Hamilton Zoo