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A rhinormous swap to help species survival

Zoos SA and Taronga Western Plains Zoo have joined together to help ensure the survival of one of the world’s most spectacular species – the Southern White Rhinoceros.

To ensure breeding success and genetic diversity within the ex situ population, the organisations exchanged Southern White Rhinoceros breeding bulls with Monarto Safari Park’s 29-year-old Satara making the trip to Dubbo and Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s 27-year-old Umfana arriving in South Australia last week.

Moving two 2000kg rhinos is no mean feat – with the 13-hour road trip expertly undertaken by a team of keepers and staff from both sites.

These ravishing rhino boys have actually met before, as two of seven rhinos that arrived in Australia from Kruger National Park in South Africa in 2002.

The importation of wild-born rhinos was an important addition to the national population as it injected new genetics into the region.

Senior Keeper Ungulates Mark Mills said the arrival of Umfana to Monarto Safari Park continues this vital breeding program for the species’ insurance population.

“I was here when Satara first arrived at Monarto Safari Park and then was here to load him on the trailer for the next part of his journey in Dubbo,” he said.

“It’s great to now have Umfana here to broaden the gene pool and play an important part in our breeding program of this endangered species.

“He has settled in really well and is now out in his new habitat and is very happy and healthy.”

Both bulls travelled very well throughout their respective journeys in purpose-built crates, thanks to months of careful planning and preparations.

“Here at Taronga Western Plains, we started crate training Umfana about nine months ago. We introduced him to his travelling crate, which he became very familiar and comfortable with over time,” said Taronga Western Plains Zoo White Rhino Keeper Bobby-Jo Vial.

“On the day of his departure he went into the crate really smoothly and travelled very well throughout. Our Senior Veterinarian accompanied him and returned with Satara, who was unloaded here in Dubbo in the early hours of last Wednesday.”

Visitors can now see Umfana near the White Rhino Boma at Monarto Safari Park and keepers will soon introduce him to the female crash; Uhura, Umqali and Savannah.

Southern White Rhinoceros roam the southern half of the African continent in savannah and grassland habitats. They are one of the largest land animals and have the biggest horn of all rhino species!

Southern White Rhinoceros are classified as endangered with around 10,000 remaining in the wild. One of the biggest threats to the population is poaching for the international rhino horn trade, which commands a high value on the black market.

By purchasing a ticket to Monarto Safari Park or getting up close during a rhino experience, you help Zoos SA fight to ensure these powerful giants stay a stampede ahead of extinction.

Please note due to the impact of COVID close contact restrictions on staff and volunteers, Monarto Safari Park has capped numbers over this weekend. To avoid disappointment, we encourage all visitors to book their tickets in advance at www.monartosafari.com.au/tickets/.

For more information visit www.monartosafaripark.com.au.


The day is here!Monarto Safari Park’s new Visitor Centre is open to the public from 9.30am. #thewildiscallinghttps://t.co/RmvY4qIIts

About Zoos SA

Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to connect people with nature and save species from extinction.

Zoos SA acknowledges the Country on which we stand always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land and we pay our deepest respect and gratitude to Kaurna (Adelaide Zoo) and Ngarrindjeri (Monarto Safari Park) Elders, past, present and emerging.

We undertake critical conservation work throughout Australia and acknowledge the traditional custodians of these lands.

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