Taronga Western Plains Zoo Welcome Rhino Calf


The Animal Facts Editorial Team


June 29, 2023 7:38 pm


Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia

After an 18 month wait Taronga Western Plains Zoo have celebrated the safe birth of a southern white rhinoceros calf on Friday June 16 2023. Mother Mopani gave birth to her calf over night with keepers finding the bundle of joy upon their arrival at work.

“We had been keeping a close eye on Mopani as she approached the end of her gestation, which is approximately 16-18 months for a White Rhino,” Keeper Fiona Cameron said. “Mopani is an experienced mum and her pregnancy was very smooth. A couple of weeks ago we observed that she was getting closer to delivering.

“Happily when I arrived at the White Rhino yards, I saw the calf up and about and by her side. It was pretty special to be the first to know he had arrived.”

The calf has been hitting all his milestones since birth and has now joined him mum out in the main paddock, much to the delight of guests.

“He’s very active and inquisitive about his surroundings and moving around with mum really well,” Fiona said.

The father of the calf is Umfana, the former breeding male at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. He moved to Monarto Safari Park in 2022 as part of the managed breeding program for this species. In exchange male, Satara made the move to Dubbo from Monarto.

“Taronga Western Plains Zoo is now one of the largest holders of White Rhinos in our region, which is absolutely crucial for conservation, and raising awareness of the plight of this remarkable species.”

Southern white rhinoceros are threatened in the wild with large numbers continuing to fall victim to poachers seeking their horns which are used in traditional medicines. This is despite the horn of a rhino being composed of keratin, the same substance as a human fingernail.

Taronga were a founding member of the International Rhino Foundation with Taronga Western Plains Zoo having a long-established breeding program for the Southern White Rhinoceros. They also actively support conservation efforts for wild rhinoceros across Africa, India and Indonesia.

Southern White Rhinoceros Taronga Western Plains Zoo

A white rhino calf born Friday June 26 2023 at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo is seen exploring its paddock under the watch of mother, Mopani. Image: © Taronga Western Plains Zoo

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More on the Southern White Rhinoceros!

Southern white rhinoceros can go four days without water. Find out more facts about them in our fact file.

Our Favourite Southern White Rhinoceros Fact!

The Southern white rhinoceros is the largest of the five rhino species. In addition they are the second largest animals on Earth after the elephant.

Image: © Taronga Western Plains Zoo

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