Christmas arrived a few days early at Taronga Western Plains Zoo when a White Rhinoceros calf was born on December 19.
The female calf is the third Rhino born at the zoo this year, with a male Black Rhino calf born in April and Australia’s first-ever Greater One-horned (or Indian) Rhino calf born in October.
“Staff are absolutely thrilled to be celebrating another precious Rhino birth, it is wonderful to end a hugely successful conservation breeding program on such a positive note for 2015,” said Zoo Director Matthew Fuller.
Keepers have named the calf Kamari, meaning ‘moonlight’ in Swahili, symbolizing the calf’s early morning birth.
“Kamari’s birth and the other successful Rhino births this year serve as a timely reminder about how important our conservation breeding programs are for species that are so heavily under threat in the wild,” said Unit Supervisor Pascale Benoit.
White Rhinos are native to a few areas in southern Africa, but were once found in most of Africa’s tropical grasslands. They are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to poaching for their horns, which are sold as traditional medicine in parts of Asia. Rhino horns are also sold in some Middle Eastern countries to make handles for daggers, which are seen as status symbols.
See more photos of the calf below.