It’s a rhino on the move, take two.
Hamilton Zoo’s female adult southern white rhinoceros Jamila has successfully moved north to her new home at Auckland Zoo.
The relocation is part of an Australasian zoos’ regional breeding programme for the species.
The operation to transport Jamila occurred earlier this morning (28 November), but was kept quiet to ensure a smooth transition. Six-year-old Jamila is now getting used to her new home and Auckland Zoo Curator of Mammals Warren Spencer says the team is excited to introduce her to visitors and male rhinos Zambezi and Inkosi.
“We are very happy to finally be welcoming her to Auckland Zoo, with our hope, in due course, she will be able to contribute to the Regional Breeding Programme for her species,” says Mr Spencer.
“It’s been great working with our friends at Hamilton Zoo who are as passionate as us about advocating for and helping the southern white rhino species, near threatened in the wild.”
Hamilton Zoo Ungulates Team Leader Aaron Gilmore says the transfer is a positive move for the regional captive breeding programme of southern white rhinos, which is carefully managed to maximise the gene pool and ensure an appropriate population is maintained.
“We’ve had exceptional success with our rhino breeding with seven calves born here, and Jamila’s move to Auckland Zoo offers the chance for her to pair up and continue to increase the gene pool” says Mr Gilmore.
Jamila is the daughter of Hamilton Zoo’s male Kruger and female Moesha and was born at Hamilton Zoo in March 2012.
“Jamila is such a cool rhino with a lovely nature. We will miss her but know that it was time for her to move on,” says Mr Gilmore.
Mr Gilmore and the ungulate team had been working regularly with Jamila to ensure the transfer was as stress-free as possible. Originally planned for September, the transfer was postponed.
“Jamila had been progressing well with her crate training leading up to the September date, but decided on the day she wasn’t in the mood,” says Mr Gilmore.
“Our priority is Jamila, and so together with the Auckland Zoo team we took our cues from her and delayed it. Now we’re really happy to have everything run smoothly and we look forward to regular updates on how she’s enjoying life in Auckland.”
Nearly extinct in the early 1900s, successful protection and management has seen southern white rhinos numbers go from less than 100 to over 20,000 in the wild in protected areas and their classification changed to ‘near threatened’. The southern white rhino is one of five rhino species (others are Sumatran, Javan, black, greater or horned). The animals are still illegally hunted for their horns.
- Wednesday 28 November southern white rhino Jamila was transported from Hamilton Zoo to take up residence at Auckland Zoo. Auckland Zoo’s Ungulates Team will be monitoring her closely as she settles in, slowly introducing her to her new home and also its other rhinos, males Zambezi and Inkosi.
- Jamila was born at Hamilton Zoo to dad Kruger and mum Moesha, and recently reached breeding age, necessitating her move. The intention is for Jamila to breed with Auckland Zoo’s males. Female rhinos generally produce their first calf at six or seven years of age and after gestation of 15 months, a calf is born every two to four years.
- Jamila may not be immediately visible to visitors – but Auckland Zoo will be posting regular updates on their social media pages. Both Auckland Zoo and Hamilton Zoo advocate for the conservation of rhino. Auckland Zoo supports the work of the Lowveld Rhino Trust Zimbabwe which works to protect rhino’s in the wild against poaching.