31 May 2013

Werribee Open Range Zoo has welcomed a new female baby Southern White Rhino born at 8.05pm AEST on Thursday 30 May. The baby was born to mother SiSi and weighs a healthy 69 kilograms.

“We are very happy with her progress and she is showing all the signs of being a healthy rhino,” said Werribee Open Range Zoo Director, Sally Lewis.

“While we are cautiously optimistic, the next 48 hours are a critical time for this baby and we have a team of vets and keepers caring for her round-the-clock.”

The Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith welcomed the announcement and praised Werribee Zoo staff for their commitment and expertise.

“This birth is so important to the rhino species at large and I am very proud that Victoria can play a part in the survival of the rhinos, a species under increasing threat from poaching,” Mr Smith said.

“I would like to commend the staff at Werribee Zoo for their expertise, passion and dedication in the birth of this precious white rhino.”

The baby will be hand raised as mother SiSi has been unable to mother her previous three calves, all of whom died tragically soon after birth.

With rhino poaching deaths far exceeding births, every calf born is incredibly important for this species. 

Kruger National Park, where SiSi came from, is now ground-zero in the battle against rhino poaching. The park has lost more than 200 rhinos since the beginning of this year to illegal poaching (Kruger has lost 229 of the 313 rhinos killed this year).

Werribee Open Range Zoo is part of a regional breeding program for the Southern White Rhino.

The baby will be provided round-the-clock care at the Zoo’s veterinary hospital and is likely to start her introductions to the rest of the herd after six weeks of age.

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