Just a few decades ago, thousands of Black Rhinos roamed Africa. They were hunted and poached for their horns in horrifying numbers. Sadly today, only around 6000 remain in the wild.
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With their large size and herbivorous diet of grasses, shrubs and trees, Black Rhinos work as ecosystem engineers to help shape and reshape their environment. Their everyday actions help maintain the biodiversity of their habitat, allowing for hundreds of other species of flora and fauna to flourish.
Sadly, habitat loss and poaching has driven this majestic animal to its critically endangered status. As the population of wild Black Rhinos shrinks and becomes fragmented across the African continent, the overall survival of the species is made more uncertain.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Taronga Conservation Society Australia is a proud founding member of the International Rhino Foundation (IRF). Our Chief Executive, Cameron Kerr AO, has now been on the board for over 14 years.
Noted as a species of significant conservation importance, Taronga Western Plains Zoo is home to the world's largest breeding program for Southern Black Rhino outside of mainland Africa.
This important conservation breeding program is delivering new and exciting advancements in reproductive research, providing new hope for the future of this important megafauna.
Earlier this year, the Zoo welcomed its 16th Black Rhino calf since the breeding program began, thanks to a world-first reproductive treatment for the species.
After Black Rhino Kufara's first calf, Mesi, became more independent, she had trouble conceiving.
Taronga's Conservation Scientists, Veterinarians and Keepers embarked on a collaborative rhino research program with international partners. Knowledge of the species' biology generated from this, and previous programs, was integrated into Kufara's clinical treatment to address her infertility.
This involved Kufara receiving a series of hormone treatments by our veterinary and rhino keeper teams and builds on a multi-decade program of rhino reproductive research at Taronga.
Kufara welcomed calf Matobo on April 14, 2023.
Although it's hard to imagine a world without the Black Rhino, it's a sad reality that Taronga's population may be called on to either supplement existing wild populations or help re-establish an extinct population in the wild.
Taronga actively supports conservation efforts for wild rhinos in Africa, Indonesia and India, providing funds and support with the International Rhino Foundation for anti-poaching and wildlife protection units, habitat protection and restoration, and expertise in veterinary care and reproduction to ensure all rhino species continue to survive in the wild.
Taronga is not-for-profit, so whether you visit, stay overnight, donate, become a Zoo Parent, book an unforgettable behind the scenes experience or buy a gift for a loved one, every dollar you spend has the power to protect wildlife like rhinos.
Remember we do mate's rates and discounted annual passes for local residents to Dubbo, Narromine, Wellington and Gilgandra - so come and meet young Matobo for yourself!
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