Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team
Date: July 13, 2021 12:00 pm
An artists impression at the new rhinoceros conservation center which will begin construction at Orana Wildlife Park
Photo Credit: Orana Wildlife Park
Orana Wildlife Park have today broken ground on a $1.4M White Rhino Conservation Center which will hold up to 20 southern white rhinoceros at any given time.
The center will act as a hub for rhinoceros moving from Africa to Australia and New Zealand as part of a new conservation program.
Chief Executive, Lynn Anderson said, “As New Zealand’s only open range zoo, we have partnered with two Australian open range zoos and charitable organisation, The Australian Rhino Project (TARP), to expand the managed rhino breeding population in Australia and NZ.”
“This will involve transferring approximately 35 animals (ten per transfer) from wildlife reserves in Africa to maintain a genetically diverse insurance population in our safe countries (NZ and Australia) should rhinos become extinct in the wild. The aim of this project is to increase genetic diversity of the existing population and help protect the species.”
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“Our White Rhino Conservation Centre is essential for this project. Every rhino transferred from Africa that is destined for our Australian partners must be quarantined in NZ for up to one year in our White Rhino Conservation Centre. Some rhinos from each import will remain at Orana to progressively develop a larger breeding herd here. Rhinos will be re-exported to our partners in Australia to develop increased breeding herds there.”
Anderson, explains that rhinos could be extinct in our lifetime: “In Africa, one rhino is illegally killed on average every six hours for its horn! Rhino poaching is out of control and there are more rhinos killed than there are born. Unless we act now, rhinos may tragically be extinct within 10 years.”
“Rhinos are counting on us all for their survival! As a charitable trust, Orana raises 100% of funds for all developments. We must raise the remaining $650,000 of the $1.4M needed to make this ambitious project a reality. As part of our public fundraising campaign, we have launched a Give a Little Page enabling the community to help us contribute to conservation on an international scale.”
One third of the rhinoceros population in Arica has been lost within the last decade. Fewer than 20,000 remain in the wild.
File photo of a southern white rhinoceros, the species which will benefit from the breeding project at the new conservation center
Photo Credit: The Animal Facts