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SOS Rhino : In the News : Shy rhino escapes bullies with city break

Shy rhino escapes bullies with city break

Thursday, 4 December 2003
Daily Liberal

It's tough being a sensitive new-age rhino.

Kwanzaa - one of Western Plains Zoo's black rhinos - will be taking a nine-month hiatus from the herd because bullying has affected his sperm.

Described as "shy and naturally passive" this retiring rhino is off to the big smoke this Sunday for some rest and relaxation.

Rhino keeper Ross Taylor said he hoped the harbour-side break at Taronga would make Kwanzaa a "new man".

"Hopefully his little trip to Sydney will see him return much improved," he said.

"There are no other rhinos at Taronga so he'll be able to relax and watch the harbour, the city lights, the Opera House - he'll have his own little world."

Mr Taylor said the other male rhinos hadn't physically attacked Kwanzaa but their aggressive behaviour was making him anxious.

"He's a shy rhino and very placid - they're a bit more forthcoming and masculine so they're dominating him," he explained.

"They yell and scream at him through the fence - he yells back but he thinks he's being bullied.

"He has been mating with the females, and some German rhino experts confirmed everything's in good working order so the stress is having a physical effect."

A short move had such a positive effect on Kawanzaa's mood it was thought a Sydney sabbatical would bring back him back assertive and ready for some tip-top tupping.

The big move will be made Sunday night and Kwanzaa has already proved travelling is no 'crate' obstacle.

"We have been working with Kwanzaa for the past month or so to make sure he is comfortable with the crate so he will have a safe and stress-free journey," Mr Taylor said.

"Of the three black rhinoceros we have trained for crate travel Kwanzaa is definitely the most relaxed," he said.

When Kwanzaa returns to Dubbo next September he will be assessed to determine whether the breeding sabbatical was successful.