Zoos SA and Taronga Western Plains Zoo joined together to exchange Southern White Rhinoceros breeding bulls to ensure breeding success and genetic diversity within the population.
Zoos SA Monarto Safari Park’s 29-year-old Satara made the trip to Dubbo while Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s 27-year-old Umfana made the trip to South Australia as part of the program.
Keepers and staff last week undertook a 13-hour road trip to move the 2000 kilogram rhinos
Senior Keeper at Monarto Safari Park Mark Mills said the arrival of Umfana was a vital continuation of the breeding program.
“I was here when Satara first arrived at Monarto Safari Park and then was here to load him on the trailer for the next part of his journey in Dubbo,” he said.
“It’s great to now have Umfana here to broaden the gene pool and play an important part in our breeding program of this endangered species.
“He has settled in really well and is now out in his new habitat and is very happy and healthy.”
Both bulls travelled well throughout their respective journeys in purpose-built crates, thanks to months of careful planning and preparations, Taronga Western Plains Zoo White Rhino Keeper Bobby-Jo Vial said.
Visitors can now see Umfana near the White Rhino Boma at Monarto Safari Park and keepers will soon introduce him to the female crash; Uhura, Umqali and Savannah.
Southern White Rhinoceros are classified as endangered with around 10,000 remaining in the wild.
One of the biggest threats to the population is poaching for the international rhino horn trade, which commands a high value on the black market.