On February 24, 2021, an endangered black rhino was born in the Taronga Western Plains Zoo (Dubbo, Australia). The new baby, a girl, is her mother’s fourth calf. Born in 2002, her mother, Bakhita, is the first female black rhino born in the zoo.
The new calf is also the fourth baby born into the breeding program at the Taronga Zoo in the past six years. The zookeepers named her Sabi Star after a rare flower from Zimbabwe.
She is the last offspring of Kwanzaa, the male black rhino who died in 2020. Kwanzaa arrived at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo from Milwaukee Zoo (US) in the mid-1990s to participate in a conservation breeding program.
Black rhinos are critically endangered. There are currently fewer than 6,000 in the wild. In fact, 2021 stats on endangered animal species reveal that the Western black rhino subspecies has been officially extinct since 2011.
These animals are under threat primarily due to poaching for the illegal sale of their horns, which are used either as status symbols or for traditional medicine. Recent stats show that rhinos are poached at a rate of one per 12 hours, whereas in 2015, it was three rhinos per 24 hours.
Thankfully, both Bakhita and Sabi Star are doing great. They will spend a few months bonding in private and then rejoin the other rhinos in the paddock. Meanwhile, the world can get news on the baby rhino’s health and progress via social media or Taronga TV.
Sabi Star is now a month-and-a-half old and developing healthily. She’s curious, playful, and relaxed, according to the zoo staff. The baby rhino has had her first mud bath, likes running through puddles, and is expected to have her public debut in May this year.
Source: Taronga Conservation Society