Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Frank Sartor yesterday announced the public debut of Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s latest addition – a baby Black Rhinoceros calf.
“The little female rhino was born on 17 February to first-time mother Bakhita,” Mr Sartor said.“It is the second generation born in the zoo’s breeding program.“It’s terrific that this baby Rhino has become available for public viewing in time for the school holidays.”
A public competition will be announced shortly to name the baby Rhino.
The zoo is widely recognised as a world-class open range zoo, which has an international reputation in Black Rhinoceros breeding, research and conservation. Since the 1990s, the Zoo’s breeding program has produced 11 Black Rhinoceros calves, supporting the survival of this critically endangered species. In total, the zoo is home to almost 1,000 animals.
Mr Sartor said Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been experiencing a recent baby boom – currently on display are four Cheetah Cubs, three Giraffe calves and a Przewalski's Horse foal.
“This baby boom is fantastic for conservation and tourism with 70% of visitors to Dubbo going specifically to visit the zoo,” Mr Sartor said. “Visitors to Dubbo will also be able to see four Cheetah cubs, including two King Cheetah, believed to be two of only 60 King Cheetah in the world.”
Taronga Western Plains Zoo Keepers, such as Nick Hanlon have been monitoring Bakhita and her calf closely to ensure the pair is bonding.
“Bakhitais a fantastic first time mother, doing everything right from the moment she gave birth,” Mr. Hanlon said. “The calf is quite confident and inquisitive but still doesn’t venture too far from mum’s side. “She is quite active and loves a run around the paddock, but like most youngsters she gets tired pretty quickly. “At birth the calf weighed about 30kg and now would be around 40kg. “In time the calf will also play an important role in the international breeding program, either here or at another Zoo.”