Double rhino milestones at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Environment Minister Mark Speakman today congratulated Taronga Western Plains Zoo staff as two rhino calves reached major milestones in their development.

Baby rhinoceros Dafari at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Dafari, a male Black Rhino calf, turns one today. Rajah, a male Greater One-horned Rhino calf, will mark six months since his birth on 25 April.

Mr Speakman said it was an outstanding achievement to have two healthy calves, whose species are endangered in the wild, progressing well at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

“The zoo is now operating successful breeding programs for three of the five surviving species of rhinoceros in the world, namely the Black, Greater One-horned and White Rhinoceroses,” Mr Speakman said.

Dafari, born 20 April last year, is the second calf born to mother Bakhita, and the twelfth Black Rhino calf born at the zoo.

Rajah, born 25 October, was the first Greater One-horned Rhino calf to be born in Australia.

Rajah’s birth was a result of over 15 years of planning, enthusiasm and commitment from zoo staff, keepers and veterinarians.

Acting Premier and Member for Dubbo Troy Grant commended the dedication of the keepers and staff at Taronga Western Plains Zoo for their part in this landmark birth.

“Taronga’s very successful rhino breeding program is one of the many attractions to the zoo which is a mainstay of regional tourism for the area,” Mr Grant said.

Taronga was one of a small number of zoos chosen globally by the International Rhino Foundation in 1992 to rapidly develop a conservation breeding program for the Black Rhinoceros, as the species faced a catastrophic decline.

The zoo has also been directly involved in supporting the Indonesian-led program for the Sumatran Rhino, of which only about 100 survive.