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Australia's hope for rare species

Queensland’s first baby white rhino born at Australia Zoo yesterday with mother Cabelle.
Queensland’s first baby white rhino born at Australia Zoo yesterday with mother Cabelle. Australia Zoo

SHE is the little lady who proves it is never too late.

This 50kg arrival is Queensland’s first baby white rhinoceros and was born at Australia Zoo yesterday at 3.15am. She is the hope for a species which has come back from the brink of extinction.

Her mother 16-year-old Caballe was content to let her little girl shine, according to Australia Zoo Africa Department head Manu Ludden.

“Our little rhino calf was on the move immediately after being born,” Ms Ludden said.

“She is a really active little girl, and we couldn’t be happier with her progress.

“Mum is also doing well. She is super relaxed and she seems quite content with her new little calf,” she said.

Caballe has been with Australia Zoo since August 2010 after she travelled from Hamilton Zoo in Auckland.

Caballe is a Southern White Rhinoceros which is listed as Near Threatened by IUCN due to continued poaching threats and the high illegal demand for its horn.

One of Africa’s ‘Big 5’ animals, the Rhino is endangered, with an estimated 20,150 White Rhinos left in the wild, and 780 in captivity.

“White Rhinos are doing the best of all the Rhino species, numbering more than all the other species put together,” said Manu.

“This hasn’t always been the case though, with numbers dropping to less than 100 individuals at the turn of the century, so they are a great success story.”

Australia Zoo is part of a regional co-operative programme, working with other zoos in Australasia to maximise breeding potential and genetic diversity of the White Rhino.

“Poaching remains the Rhinos’ biggest threat, but through intense anti-poaching strategies, numbers have climbed, however they are still highly at risk,” said Manu.

This is Cabelle’s fourth calf, and the first Rhino to be born at Australia Zoo.

Caballe was pregnant when she arrived at Australia Zoo in August from Auckland.

The public will have the chance to name the baby through eBay. All money from the auction goes to Australia Zoo projects in Africa. For details go to australiazoo.com.au

All money raised will go to Australia Zoo Conservation Projects in Africa.

While the calf needs time now to get to know her mum, she will remain off display, however Australia Zoo is very excited to offer the public the chance to meet her when our Africa exhibit opens in time for the September School Holidays!


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