Seven years ago, Kufara was born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, now the black rhinoceros is about to have her own baby.
Kufara’s first calf is expected to be born in May. It will be the third generation of black rhino born at the zoo.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo keeper Linda Matthews, who was working at the zoo when Kufara herself was born, said it was a very exciting news to hear the 13th black rhino calf would soon be arriving in Dubbo.
“All births are special but rhinos are a big thing because of how long the process takes to be able to get one,” Ms Matthews said.
Years of planning has gone towards getting the black rhino to this point, and from here until the calf is born Kufara will be closely monitored.
“As the due date falls nearer we’ll move her into more of a carving type yard where we can do closer monitoring with CCTV footage where we don’t have to be so up close to her. And then we’ll take more monitoring of fecal samples and her generalised behaviour to make sure we can expect a smooth and steady birth,” Ms Matthews said.
The gestation period for rhinos is between 14 and 16 months. Ms Matthews said they had confirmation of Kufara’s pregnancy at about the three or four month mark, but they still had a 12 month wait ahead of them before they were able to see feet on the ground.
At this stage, everything was going by the book, Ms Matthews said. Kufara had been doing really well in both her interactions with staff and her medical management, she said.
Black rhinoceros are critically endangered in the wild. The are poached for their horns and are also suffering from habitat destruction.
However while their numbers were much worse years ago, with breeding and conservation efforts Ms Matthews said the numbers had increased to 5000.