Werribee Open Range Zoo


Rhinoceros have only one predator, humans, who hunt them for their hooves, blood, urine, and above all, for their horns. Historically rhino horn has been used in traditional medicines throughout China, and more recently as a status symbol amongst wealthy businessmen and women in Vietnam. The horns are also used to make ornamental handles for traditional Jambiya daggers, worn by young men in Yemen as a symbol of their wealth, and their transition from childhood to adulthood.

There are five different species of rhino: the black and white rhino, the Javan, Sumatran and Indian, or Greater one-horned rhino. Three of the five remaining rhino species are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (on the IUCN red list).  The Greater one-horned rhino is classed as vulnerable, while the Southern white rhinoceros, which can be found grazing on the savannah at Werribee Open Range Zoo is classed as near threatened.

There are thought to be just over 20,000 Southern white rhinoceroses remaining in the wild – they are faring the best of the five surviving rhino species. Unfortunately loss of habitat and poaching continue to be a serious problem, and the survival of rhinos as a species is threatened as conflict between humans and wildlife, including the demand for rhino horn continues.

The Southern white rhinoceros is predominantly found in South Africa. It is the largest of the five rhino species and is also known as the ‘square-lipped rhinoceros’ because of its wide, straight upper lip that enables it to graze. It is seldom aggressive and is the most sociable of the five rhino species. Bulls are more vocal, making snorting, bellowing and trumpeting sounds. 

Wallowing in mud is an important behaviour for young rhino calves to learn from the adults as the mud has protective properties for the rhinos’ thick skin: it serves as a sunscreen, insect repellent and antiseptic lotion to heal small wounds.

Both the male and female Southern white rhino have two horns, the front one reaching lengths of up to 150cm. An adult male weighs approximately 2.3 tonnes and a female weighs about 1.8 tonnes. The average birth weight for a newborn Southern white rhino is between 60kg – 70kg. The gestation period, or length of pregnancy for a female rhino is generally between 15 to 16 months.

Werribee Open Range Zoo is an important member of the regional breeding program for the conservation of the Southern white rhinoceros.

Your visit to the Zoo helps to fight species extinction. Visiting Werribee Open Range Zoo offers not only an opportunity to see this awesome animal at close range, but also to learn about the Zoo’s conservation program Beads for Wildlife, which helps communities and wildlife in Africa.


Born 1988

He is a very dominating male toward the female rhinos but very affectionate towards his keepers.


Born 1980

Renowned for his long horn, he loves the company of his keepers. 


Born 1996

He is affectionate toward his keepers but shy around the female rhinos.


Born 1984

Make is a bit shy, probably because she hangs around with another shy rhino called Lataba. Make is Si Si’s mother.


Born 1992

Lataba is very flighty. She takes a while to get used to changes in her environment.

Si Si

Born 1998

Si Si loves to eat all day long. She is a bit aggressive toward the male rhino, especially if he tries to steal her food (Si Si is Make's daughter).


Born 2013

Kipenzi is a very sociable rhino and is especially fond of her keepers. She is now a part of the adult herd after being hand raised by vet and keeping staff. Kipenzi is very friendly and cheeky!

World Rhino Day

Students Rally for World Rhino Day

On Tuesday 22 September, Werribee Open Range Zoo marked World Rhino Day with the help of four young students from St Mary’s Primary School in Malvern East.

22 September 2015
Rhino Kipenzi with the herd

Happy Birthday Kipenzi!

Werribee Open Range Zoo’s Southern White Rhino calf, Kipenzi marked her second birthday on Saturday 30 May.

In the last year, Kipenzi has really strengthened her bond with the rhino herd, particularly with grandmother Make.

1 June 2015
Shadowfax winery

Shadowfax and the Savannah

Werribee Open Range Zoo and Shadowfax Wines have joined forces to create the perfect day of wine and wildlife at Werribee Park.

Slumber Safari - couple

Slumber Safari

Enjoy an overnight experience at the Zoo in our luxury safari camp. Your stay includes amazing close-up animal encounters, drinks and dips at sunset, a sumptuous dinner, unique night-time activities and breakfast overlooking Australian Journey. 

  • A rhinoceros has three toes on each foot
  • Some animals such as the eland and kudu will roll in rhinoceros poo to disguise their scent. This reduces their chances of being attacked by predators such as lions
  • The collective noun for a group of rhinos is a 'crash' of rhinos
  • The rhinoceros’ ears can move independently allowing it to hear in different directions at the same time
  • Rhinoceros horn is made of keratin, the same substance of human hair and nails
  • A pile of rhinoceros poo is called a ‘midden’. Rhinos use middens to help them navigate in their territory