The young black rhino calf born at Taronga Western Plains on April 20th has a received a name this week. Keepers chose the name Dafari for the adventurous youngster which means first born son.
Mum Bakhita has recently been taking the calf on exhibit for the first time allowing visitors their first glances at the new addition.
“Dafari is a very confident calf,” Keeper Scott Smith said. “From an early age he could be seen running and galloping around his enclosure, and he is much the same now he is on exhibit.”
This is the third calf for Taronga’s breeding program in the past decade. The zoo has the most successful breeding program for the species outside of Africa. Bakhita is responsible for two of the calves having given birth to a female calf back in 2010. She was born at the zoo herself making this a 2nd generation rhino for the zoo.
At birth Dafari weighed in at between 30 and 40kg (66 and 88lb). Recently keepers got him onto the scales and discovered he has grown to 125kg (275.5lb).
“He’s drinking from Bakhita and is also starting to eat a little bit of solid food. Bakhita is continuing to be a great mother, she is alert and protective but is also relaxed,” added Smith.
Taronga is working to save the black rhino that now numbers just 4000 in the wild. Poaching due to increasing demand for their horn which is used in traditional medicines and as a status symbol is their biggest threat.
Alongside the successful black rhino breeding program Taronga also works to conserve the southern white rhino and Great One-Horned or Indian rhino.
“The situation is devastating. Taronga actively supports conservation efforts for wild rhinos in Africa, Indonesia and India, including providing funds and support for habitat protection and reforestation, anti-poaching and rhino protection units and reduction of human-rhino conflict. We’re also a founding member of the International Rhino Foundation.”
Photo Credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo