World Rhino Day
Today is World Rhino Day—not only a day to celebrate these charismatic creatures, but a day to raise awareness of the plight of all rhino species.
Rhinos in the Wild
Rhinos remain under constant threat of poachers for their horn and other body parts. More than 30 species of rhino used to roam most of the world between 40 million and 15,000 years ago. Besides Australia, South America, and Antarctica, rhinoceros fossils have been found on every continent.
Today, only five species remain.
Currently, there are two species found in Africa—the white and the black—and three species in Asia—the Indian, Javan, and Sumatran. Javan and Sumatran rhinos are critically endangered.
The Zoo’s Rhinos
The Los Angeles Zoo has a long history of working with these magnificent mammals, as well as a strong commitment to rhino conservation.
The Zoo’s current rhino resident is Randa, the oldest Indian rhino in captivity in the U.S. She’s a great ambassador for her species, as well as other rhino species. Due to her easygoing manner, she greets Zoo visitors on the weekends, allowing them to get close to one of the most unique animals in the world and learn from her dedicated keepers.
The Zoo has also housed white, Eastern black, Southern black, and Sumatran rhinos in the past. The Zoo’s work with the Sumatran rhino is especially storied.
In 1984, the L.A. Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo, Bronx Zoo, and San Diego Zoo formed the Sumatran Rhino Trust (SRT) with the Indonesian government in order to save the Sumatran rhino species.
The Sumatran rhino has been very difficult to breed in captivity. In the wake of September 11, 2001, Andalas was the first successful calf born out of the SRT and the first Sumatran rhino born in captivity in more than a century. After he was weaned, he was transferred to the L.A. Zoo, where he delighted Zoo staff and the citizens of Los Angeles. In 2007, the Zoo agreed to transfer Andalas to his ancestral home in Sumatra to breed. Andalas proved to be a successful breeder and an asset to his species.
How You Can Help
There are more bright spots in the conservation picture. In the wild, Indian rhinos (such as Randa), are slowly making a comeback thanks to conservation, community outreach, government involvement, and border protection measures.
Your support of the Zoo helps toward the support of projects that save endangered animals in the wild. Consider participating in the AAZK’s annual Bowling for Rhinos fundraiser.