We are delighted to introduce you to the newest member of our collection, an adorable Southern white rhino calf named 'Bonnie', she is the fifth calf to be born at the park to mum, Dot (16), and dad, Graham (16). Bonnie is doing really well, visitors are encouraged to quietly nip over to the rhino house and take a peek through the public viewing window this weekend.
The park is over the moon with the arrival. Head Keeper of the Large Mammals Department at Blair Drummond Safari Park, Ailsa McCormick, added
“I’m really pleased for the team who work tirelessly in ensuring very high standards of welfare and husbandry for all our Rhinos. The birth went without fault, Dot was incredibly relaxed about the birth and stood well to ensure the calf suckled shortly after the birth. The calf is of big importance to the Endangered Species Breeding Program, and I’m delighted to oversee Dot and Graham’s continued part in ensuring a strong viable insurance population for Southern white rhinos. This calf is their fifth, and being grandparents at sixteen years old, Dot and Graham's latest calf is a big feather in the cap for the ongoing conservation efforts made by Blair Drummond. However, as heart warming and delightful that this birth is, it also makes us ever more determined to help their wild counterparts, we’re really pleased this year to be supporting OSCAP [Outraged South African Citizens Against Poaching] and the work they do with rhino orphans, made so by horrific poaching incidents”.
Dot and Graham have been breeding magnificently since they arrived at the park together in 2003. Dot's two year old son, Bruce, is still living at the park, he will move on to another zoo in the spring of 2017 as part of the Endangered Species Breeding Programme. Dot's previous calves have all moved on to live in zoos throughout Europe, and have successfully bred themselves - Dot and Graham are grandparents three times over! A further female, Tswane (15), moved to the Safari Park in 2015. She will hopefully breed with Graham in the not too distant future.
Southern White Rhinos, native to the south and south-east of the African continent, are currently listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. Poaching continues to be an ongoing problem through Africa, with approximately 18,000 believed to remain in the wild. All rhinos are poached for one reason - their horn. It is believed in certain cultures to cure a vast array of ailments, ranging from demon possession, to fever, to cancer. The horn itself, however, is constructed of keratin – the same material as your hair and finger nails! Of the five species of rhino still alive today, three are “Critically Endangered”. Two live in Africa – the Black and the White rhino – with a further three species living in India, and South-east Asia.
Blair Drummond is committed to educating and inspiring our visitors to try and help save this incredible species from extinction. We proudly support OSCAP, an organisation which is carrying out essential conservation work in South Africa in an attempt provide protection for endangered species such as the White Rhino. The goal is to end the illegal wildlife trade of endangered and threatened species and allow these animals to thrive in the wild. Check out our conservation work here and Keep an eye on our webcam to see how Dot and Bonnie are doing.