White Rhinoceros introduced to the Gladys Porter Zoo
BROWNSVILLE, TX (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — The Gladys Porter Zoo welcomes one of its most fascinating creatures to its new premises. Julie, a female white rhinoceros arrived at the Zoo on June 21st from The Wilds, an animal facility in Ohio. Due to a recommendation by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP), she will temporarily be joining our resident rhino, Tilly. The mission of the AZA Species Survival Plan Program is to manage specific, and typically threatened or endangered species population within AZA-accredited Zoos and Aquariums, Certified Related Facilities, and Approved Non-Member Participants. Julie’s transfer will benefit and support a sustainable population in managed care to advance the mission of zoos in the future.
Julie was born on August 9, 1993. She will soon be turning twenty one years old. Julie and Tilly have been housed in the same barn since Julie first arrived in June. They were able to see and smell each other but had not yet been introduced. Julie was introduced to the exhibit alone for the past week to familiarize herself with her new home. At 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 30th, both rhinos were released and were introduced to each other for the first time under zookeepers’ supervision. “We expected a few bumping between each other, but nothing major. We were confident that their encounter would run smoothly. With animals this large there is always a chance of injury,” stated Walter Dupree, Curator of Mammals.
Rhinos typically live to be 30 to 35 years old in the wild and 40 to 45 years old in captivity. White rhinos are the largest of the rhino species. Unlike the other species of rhinos, the white rhino can grow up to be about six/6 feet tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 7500 pounds. Their front horn averages 60 cm, but occasionally reaches 150 cm in length, and it is used as a source of defense mechanism. The latest statistics show that there is still a decent amount of white rhinos in South Africa; therefore, it is not listed as an endangered species.
White rhinos are recognized with having the most complex social structure of all rhino species. “Female rhinos are very social animals and are often found in the same area. They will build trust and get along with time,” stated Walter Dupree, Curator of Mammals.
The white rhinos are now in exhibit and can be visited by the public at the Gladys Porter Zoo.
The Gladys Porter Zoo is a visitor- oriented zoological and botanical park, dedicated to the preservation of nature through education. Conservation and research.