- Thursday, 21 September 2017 09:45
The 22nd September every year is World Rhino Day. It is a day to raise awareness on all 5 species of rhinoceros and the threats they face in the wild. There are 2 African species including the white and black rhino, along with 3 Asian species including the Indian, Javan and Sumatran rhino.
There used to be around 500,000 rhinos found across Africa and Asia, however there are only about 29,000 left today. This is due to the high demand in poaching for their valuable horns which has escalated in recent years, dramatically reducing their numbers. Today all rhinos are threatened with extinction and 3 out of the 5 species are classed as critically endangered, with some subspecies now extinct.
Rhino horn has become more valuable than gold and it is sought after in Asian countries where it is used in traditional medicine to 'treat' a variety of conditions, however their horn is made out of keratin and has no proven medicinal benefits. Due to it being so expensive, it is also used as a status symbol to show someone's wealth and success.
Even though rhino numbers have declined drastically, thanks to the persistent efforts of conservation programmes we are now seeing a slow increase in rhino numbers, despite the continuous threat from poaching. From working with local communities in key areas, raising global awareness of the crisis and captive breeding programmes within zoos, all are contributing to help save these incredible animals.
Here at Flamingo Land we are the only zoo in the UK to have both black and white rhinos. Both species are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) which aims to safeguard the future of species through captive breeding.
We currently have 4 black rhinos, 3 females and a male. Samira and Olmoti who are mother and daughter joined us first from Zurich zoo in Switzerland, then in November last year we had another female, Chanua, join us from Chester Zoo. In May this year we received our male Baringo who came from a zoo in the Czech Republic who has joined us to breed with our females.
On the other side of the zoo, we have our 2 male white rhinos called Mabaso and Bruce. They also joined us in May and replaced our previous males, Zimba and Balu, who were both old enough to be moved on to other zoos to be paired with females.