Black Rhinoceros Explore New Exhibit at Monarto Safari

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: February 24, 2022 3:44 am

Black Rhinoceros Monarto Safari Park

Black Rhinoceros, Sentwali explores his new 5-acre habitat at Monarto Safari Park

Photo Credit: Geoff Brooks/ Zoos SA

Monarto Safari Park have completed construction on their new 5 acre black rhino habitat after 5 years of work. This week their resident black rhinoceros, Sentwali was given access to the habitat for the first time.

The 17 year old male quickly began to explore the habitat from top to bottom. One of his favorite features was the mud wallow. He rolled around covering himself from head to toe with mud.

His new habitat has been expertly designed with all the features a black rhino could want. These include a a wallow, two scratch posts, rocks, piles of logs and two poles to hang browse for enrichment.

As director of Monarto Safari Park, Peter Clark explained, the project has been planned for five years and has been made possible with support and sponsorship from Gold Rhino and Hart Hat. 

“It was such a big moment for us because it has been many years in the making,” he said.

“It was just fantastic to see Sentwali exploring the area. He certainly tired himself out after running around and exploring for so long.

Black rhinoceros are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. It is thought only 3,000 remain in the wild following steep declines due to poaching for their horns.

Substantial inroads have been made for their conservation in Africa but breeding programs in zoos are still important for their survival.

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The opening of the new habitat is only the first stage of the black rhinoceros expansion at Monarto Safari Park. Further habitats are planned which will allow females to move in and a breeding program to commence.

“There is a large space adjoining the new exhibit, which we plan to create further areas to house more black rhinos in the future, including females.

His new habitat was built with this in mind and includes a strengthened 'meet and greet' fence where males and females will have their first meetings.

This is an important part of introducing black rhinos with keepers needing to see how they interact safely behind a fence to know when to introduce them.

“As a critically endangered species, it is a very exciting and important conservation project and we hope that we can build an ex situ population to safeguard and act as ambassadors for their wild relatives.”

At present guests at Monarto Safari Park will be able to see the rhino enclosure from the Zu-Loop Safari Bus. A new viewing shelter, bus stop and walking tracks will provide another way to view the rhinos from mid-2022.

Monarto Safari Park are home to two black rhinoceros. Sentwali came to Monarto Safari Park with Induna in 2007 from Taronga Western Plains Zoo. They are the only two zoos which currently house the black rhino.

While both have had access to the new habitat they will not be seen together.

“Male Black Rhinoceros are solitary, so they won’t be in there together but they will be swapped over regularly so they can both enjoy the space.”

Learn more about Black Rhinoceros here - Black Rhinoceros Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about Monarto Safari Park on their website – Monarto Safari Park

Black Rhinoceros Monarto Safari Park

Black Rhinoceros, Sentwali explores his new 5-acre habitat at Monarto Safari Park

Photo Credit: Geoff Brooks/ Zoos SA

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