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SOS Rhino : In the News : Barrel of fun steals the show Daily Liberal -- Australia
 

Barrel of fun steals the show Daily Liberal -- Australia

 

KATHY STONE
Thursday, 5 June 2003

They travelled 11,000 kilometres to get here but the five southern white rhinoceros who went on public display at Western Plains Zoo yesterday were up against some real star power.

The adult herd was upstaged by the nearly two-month-old addition who managed to elicit squeals of delight from the high-profile crowd.

Dubbo MP Tony McGrane, on hand to officially welcome the herd, waxed lyrical about the charm of a 30-plus kilogram "bub" who could walk and run within 40 minutes of birth. "It's a treat watching her, the antics she gets up to, I don't think you ever get too jaded watching young animals frisk around having a good time," he said. Even the experts had smiles on their faces.

Zoo general manager Matt Fuller, clearly chuffed with his youngest star's debut performance, looked over his shoulder during his speech and said: "She's out there running around like a nut somewhere."

Indeed she was, along with a herd that will continue a successful breeding program which has brought the southern white rhinos back from the brink of extinction.

The baby of the group was born in Dubbo on March 16, but the story began more than two years ago with plans to import seven wild-born rhinos from Kruger National Park in South Africa. In September last year the animals boarded a 747 cargo plane at Johannesburg bound for Australia.

At Adelaide's Monarto Zoo they were quarantined for more than fours months before five of them were loaded onto trucks for the 1200km trek across the Hay plains to Dubbo.


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