Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Black Rhino calf has had its first mud bath, frolicking with mother Bakhita in the muddy conditions produced by recent rainfall in Dubbo.
Bakhita and the calf enjoyed a wallow in the mud before playfully running through puddles in their behind-the-scenes paddock.
The female Black Rhino calf is now one month old and has been named Sabi Star (pronounced Sarbi Star) by Zoo Keepers. The name was chosen after the beautiful, rare and much loved flower found in Zimbabwe. The Sabi Star only flowers during harsh dry periods which keepers felt signified the struggle for life all livings things face in the wild.
“We all felt the name was so fitting and given the calf’s confident and curious personality, she will no doubt be a star ambassador for her species,” said Black Rhino Keeper Jake Williams
“Sabi Star is progressing really well and now weighs over 80kgs. She is putting on approximately one kilogram a day.”
Each calf born has an individual personality and it has been evident from day one that Sabi Star is the most confident and inquisitive calf born at the Zoo to date.
Experienced mum Bakhita is continuing to show all the right maternal behaviours which is so important as Black Rhino calves learn from their mothers. They learn what to eat and how to react and respond to new situations, so having a relaxed and calm mother will ensure the calf is also relaxed and calm.
“Sabi Star currently spends most of her time feeding, mimicking her mum’s behaviours, exploring her environment and sleeping. She is growing in confidence every day and follows the lead of Bakhita when going for a gallop around the paddock or exploring the newly formed puddles.”
“She has already started mouthing and exploring food that is provided to her mum and over the course of the next 6 – 12 months she will continue to suckle whilst increasing her intake of solid food,” said Jake.
It is hoped that Bakhita and Sabi Star will make their public debut in early May, in the meantime regular updates are being provided via the Zoo’s social media channels.
Black Rhinos are currently listed as critically endangered with estimates that there are less than 6000 remaining in the wild.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is internationally renowned for its Black Rhino conservation breeding program and actively funds and supports conservation efforts for wild rhinos in Africa, Indonesia and India. Funding and support for habitat protection and restoration, anti-poaching and rhino protection units and the reduction of human-animal conflict are all vital to ensure Rhino species will continue to survive in the wild.