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 Rhinoceros remaining in the wild and the survival of this species is under serious threat as a result of illegal poaching for their horn.

Rhino horn is made out of keratin, which is what our fingernails and hair is made out of it and it has no proven medicinal value.

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 Rhinoceros 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

Father to Kipenzi, Umgana is generally quite relaxed, but he’s also confident in asserting his dominance when he needs to.


Born 1980

Like Letaba, Lee is quite reserved and wary when it comes to new things. 


Born 1996

Kapamba is known as the ‘gentle giant’. While he is the largest of the herd he is also very easy-going, keeping a respectful distance from the females and doing his best not to irritate them!


Born 1984

Make, pronounced ‘Mar-kay’ is Kipenzi’s grandmother and is very gentle and patient with the youngster. 


Born 1992

Letaba is a bit more reserved and cautious when it comes to something new, taking her time to evaluate the situation.

Si Si

Born 1998

SiSi is the dominant female of the group and keeps everyone in line – be they Rhino, Eland, Ostrich or Zebra!


Born 2013

Kipenzi is growing in confidence and has developed strong bonds with the herd, especially Make. She’s very affectionate but also very stubborn and will stand her ground with the adult rhinos when it comes to food.

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. 


Additional September School Holiday dates now available. 

  • 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