Thursday, September 20, 2018

It’s a Girl! A Rhino Girl!

Israel's Ramat Gan Safari, a 250-animal reserve, just announced the birth of a healthy female baby rhinoceros. The new calf, born in August, has not yet been named. The zoo says there are looking for a name that starts with a "T" to match her mom's name Tanda. It's the 30th birth of a rhino baby in the safari since its creation on the outskirts of Tel Aviv back in 1974. Their first baby rhino – named "Shalom" – was born 40 years ago.

Israel is part of an international breeding program for rhino conservation, which is organized by the European Endangered Species Program (EEP). It's a population management program for animals of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, of which Israel is a member. The Ramat Gan Safari, with 13 rhinos, is the largest herd of the entire program, which includes more than 300 rhinos across 78 zoos.

As a commitment to breeding this highly endangered species, two young females were imported from South Africa's Pretoria Zoo to Israel in 2012. In addition to normal pregnancies, the EEP is looking at all possible angles to increase the rhino population – including using test-tube techniques and stem cell science.

Rhinos, who can live up to 35 years in the wild, rank among the most endangered species on the planet. At the beginning of the 20th century, 500,000 rhinos roamed Africa and Asia, but that number has decreased exponentially. The current population is under 30,000. Indeed, very few rhinos survive outside national parks, nature reserves, and zoos. Valued for their horns, they face a dire threat from poaching, which is rapidly pushing them towards extinction.

The Israeli safari has welcomed several baby rhinos in recent years. As for the new addition, she seems to be acclimating well.

Source: From the Grapevine