White Rhino calf Jabulani is living up to his name.
(min cost $8)
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Meaning 'rejoice' in Zulu language, the name was initially chosen to reflect the emotions surrounding his birth, a wonderful achievement for a species that has seen its wild numbers decline by almost 12 per cent in the past four years.
Almost five months on, the moniker has proven incredibly fitting for this boisterous young rhino, whose zest for life seems infectious for all of those who encounter him.
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"Jabulani is a very cheeky, confident and curious calf," Keeper Glyn Avery said.
"Right from the get-go, he has been exploring his habitat and keeping mum Mopani very busy.
Fortunately for Mopani, some of this exuberant energy is now redirected towards 'aunty' Likwezi, through horn tussles and mock charges.
"Jabu has also learnt that even when the females are trying to rest that it's a lot of fun to climb all over them!"
The youngest rhino at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Jabulani lives with his mother Mopani and 'aunty' Likwezi on the main White Rhino paddock, where his favourite activities include doing 'zoomies' and mouthing mum's lucerne hay. Even though she isn't related, Likwezi plays an important role in Jabulani's social development, through play and other interactions.
"He used to love stirring his mum and 'aunty' up by getting them to have little fights over food, by constantly moving between troughs and not settling," Glyn said.
"As he gets bigger, he is interacting even more with Likwezi, quite playfully, and loves to stick his little horn under her skin flaps.
"He is also very keen to interact with his keepers and other rhinos, including our new bull Satara who lives next door.
"With all this exuberant activity going on, it's no surprise that he also loves to nap!"
Jabulani's birth in April brought the total number of White Rhinos at the Zoo to six. Taronga Western Plains Zoo is one of the largest holders of White Rhinos in the Australasian region, which is absolutely crucial for conservation, and raising awareness of the plight of this remarkable species.
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 mates rates and discounted annual passes for local residents of Dubbo, Narromine, Wellington and Gilgandra - so come and meet young Jabulani for yourself!
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