One horny rhino!
Thursday 15 July 2004
Whipsnade Wild Animal Park's new male Asian one-horned rhino, Jaffna, has been causing a stir down at the rhino house
His arrival has put a spring in the step of the three resident females, Roopa, Beluki and Behan.
10 year old Jaffna, who is the size of a family estate car, has been slowly introduced the females since his arrival from Basel Zoo in Switzerland, but their reaction to him has been very positive with lots of snorting and whistling.
"He travelled well and has adjusted to his new enclosure and is already interacting over the fence with the girls and certainly seems keen," said David Field, Curator of Mammals. "He is has sired calves elsewhere and we hope that he will breed with our females and continue Whipsnade's success at breeding this endangered species."
Jaffna is particularly important to the European breeding programme as he was brought over from the US in 2002. He has brought fresh blood into the European captive population and is key to the global management of this species.
The Asian one-horned rhinoceros once existed across the entire northern part of the Indian subcontinent from Pakistan to the Indian-Burmese birder, and including parts of Nepal and Bhutan. It may also have existed in Myanmar, southern China, and Indochina.
However due to habitat loss and poaching for their horn this prehistoric looking animal now only exists in a few small populations in north-eastern India and in Nepal and the total wild population is currently estimated at around 2,300.
These pressures brought the species to the brink of extinction in the early 1900s however due to effective protection by Indian and Nepalese wildlife authorities populations are now recovering and being maintained in well managed parks.
Debbie Curtis 020 7449 6363 or 01582 872171 firstname.lastname@example.org
Asian one-horned rhino facts
- Asian rhino are browsers and eat grasses, leaves and bark and have a specially developed hooked prehensile lip
- They live in riverine grassland areas and spend a lot of time in water and mud wallows
- They can weigh up to 2 tonnes and measure approx. 6 ft (1.8 m) at shoulder
- Jaffna was born at San Diego Zoo in 1994 and arrived at Whipsnade on 9th June
- Whipsnade's oldest female, Roopa, is a great grandmother having produced 4 youngsters who have gone on to produce calves themselves
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