Thursday, 5 June 2003
They travelled 11,000 kilometres to
get here but the five southern white rhinoceros who went on public
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.
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."
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
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.