Monarto Zoo’s newest member of the rhino family, a two week old Southern White Rhinoceros, will meet the public for the first time this week.
Having enjoyed some private time with her mum, Umqali, in an off-limits area to give the pair a chance to bond, the playful and inquisitive calf is now ready for her public debut.
Monarto Zoo Ungulate Keeper, Tim Mellonie says to mark the calf’s first public appearance, zoo keepers are asking for help to find the baby a befitting name. A voting contest has been kicked off and details can be found on the Monarto Zoo website.
“Both Umqali and her little calf are settling in extremely well. As a seasoned mum, Umqali is keeping a constant watchful eye on her baby at all times and ensures the other females maintain their distance,” Tim said.
“Finding her a suitable name will definitely be a challenge as she already has such a distinct personality− nuzzling zoo keepers, curiously exploring the sights, sounds and smells of her new environment and even snorting playfully in the mud wallow.”
Monarto Zoo is extremely proud to welcome the fifth calf born on site, bringing the zoo’s rhino crash to a total of six Southern White Rhinos, as they represent the long-term survival of these majestic, threatened species.
Monarto Zoo Curator Life Sciences, Beth Pohl says rhinoceros are poached mostly for their horns, thought to have medicinal value, which in fact have no scientific benefits.
“These Southern Whites have the largest horns, often making them the target of poachers as horns can fetch up to $70,000 USD per kilo,” Beth said.
“We’re certainly hopeful that our conservation efforts at Monarto Zoo will contribute to the survival of these prehistoric-looking animals as there are currently only about 20,000 left in the wild.”
The spring school holidays is the perfect time to visit Monarto Zoo and meet the little rhino calf. The zoo is running a special school holidays program for the young and young at heart, providing passports to a truly rare and unique African adventure. Travelers will get to cross various ‘border control’ checkpoints, including the opportunity to witness the young rhino interact with her fond keepers and loving mum.
Throughout the journey, passport holders will also get to enjoy interactive sessions with zoo keepers, educational craft activities and a chance to win prizes.
Monarto Zoo is proudly associated with The Australian Rhino Project that seeks to relocate threatened Southern White Rhinoceros to Australia in an effort to protect the species, whilst the poaching crisis in Africa is brought under control. It is hoped that the first rhinos will arrive in Australia within the next year and that many of these will find a home at Monarto Zoo.