Black Rhino Calf makes an appearance

Sabi Star, Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s newest Black Rhino calf with her mother Bakhita

Rare Black Rhino calf makes her public debut

Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Black Rhino calf, Sabi Star has this week made her much anticipated public debut on exhibit alongside mum Bakhita.

Sabi Star continues to be a very confident and inquisitive calf and is thriving. She now weighs 111.5 kilograms at just over seven weeks of age and keepers have observed her starting to try some solid foods such as banana, sweet potato and carrot. Sabi Star will also pick up branches and mimic Bakhita’s feeding which is a great sign she is learning behaviours from mum.

“Sabi Star has been very alert on the exhibit paddock and seemed to notice unfamiliar faces, sounds and people when she first went out. She listened and watched intently but took comfort and direction from her experienced mum,” said Black Rhino Keeper Hayley Brooks.

Bakhita sets a great example for Sabi Star and ensures she is both calm and confident with her surrounds and zoo keepers. Black Rhino mothers teach their young the important aspects of being a Black Rhino.

“Bakhita has already taught Sabi Star to wallow in the mud which is essential for maintaining healthy skin and staying cool in the heat,” said Hayley.

“We couldn’t be happier with the maternal care and guidance Bakhita is showing towards her calf, but being an experienced mother we knew she was going to do an amazing job.”
As Mother’s Day approaches and the Zoo celebrates all of the animal mums, it’s the perfect time to see Sabi Star and Bakhita. Guests can still use the NSW Dine and Discover vouchers to save $25 on zoo entry, as well as animal encounters and food purchased in zoo grounds, up until 30 June 2021.

“The best time of the day to see Sabi Star is at the daily free keeper talk at 9:25am. This is a great opportunity to see mum and calf at feeding time but also chat to the keeper about how the calf is going,” said Hayley.
Black Rhinos are currently listed as critically endangered with estimates that there are less than 6000 remaining in the wild.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is internationally renowned for its Black Rhino conservation breeding program and actively funds and supports conservation efforts for wild rhinos in Africa, Indonesia and India. Funding and support for habitat protection and restoration, anti-poaching and rhino protection units and the reduction of human-animal conflict are all vital to ensure Rhino species will continue to survive in the wild.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is open every day of the year from 9am – 4pm. Tickets are available online at www.taronga.org.au.

“This is the fourth calf for experienced mother Bakhita, who is the Zoo’s most successful Black Rhino breeding female and also the first female Black Rhino born here,” said Taronga Western Plains Zoo Director, Steve Hinks.

“This calf is especially important as it carries the legacy of our Black Rhino breeding bull, Kwanzaa who sadly passed away in 2020.”

“Kwanzaa played a prominent role in the Black Rhino conservation breeding program here in Dubbo, siring four calves, and it is such a great feeling to see his final calf arrive safely,” said Steve.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been very successful in breeding Black Rhinos throughout the history of the conservation breeding program which commenced in the 1990s. This is the fourth calf born into the program in the last six years.
Black Rhinos are currently listed as critically endangered with estimates that there are less than 6000 remaining in the wild.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is internationally renowned for its Black Rhino conservation breeding program and actively funds and supports conservation efforts for wild rhinos in Africa, Indonesia and India. Funding and support for habitat protection and restoration, anti-poaching and rhino protection units and the reduction of human-animal conflict are all vital to ensure Rhino species will continue to survive in the wild.