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Taronga Western Plains Zoo Rhinos at Western Plains Zoo

Discussion in 'Australia' started by akasha, 22 Jul 2022.

  1. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member

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    I began looking into the history of Dubbo’s Black Rhinos out of curiosity, to see if any had been moved on to other breeding programs. I ended up with a summary of what I believe are all the Black Rhinos held at Dubbo since the program began in 1992. (I did find a reference to one more female named Taronga, I don’t know if anyone can shed any light on that?) There are still a few gaps in the info I have. Any additions/corrections are welcome :)

    BLACK RHINOS AT DUBBO

    In November 1992 TWPZ received 1.7 Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis minor) from Chete National Park, Zimbabwe. 1.1 died shortly after arriving. 1.0 had died in transit. This left Dubbo with 6 females:

    0.1 Musina Pongo (~1983-?)
    0.1 Chitundumusere (~1986-?)
    0.1 Kalungwizi (~1987-?)
    0.1 Dongajumu (~1989-2015)
    0.1 Pepe Kalle (~1989-?)
    0.1 Utahwedande (~1989-?)

    In 1994 Dubbo received 4 bulls from the US:

    1.0 Siabuwa (Wild x Wild) ~1988 from Fossil Rim
    1.0 Kwanzaa (Brewster x Barley) 29/12/1992-2020 from Milwaukee Zoo
    1.0 Ibala (Gundwane x Chirundu) 12/08/1993 from San Diego Zoo
    1.0 Mwaniki (247 x 180) 07/08/1980 from San Diego Wild Animal Park (Born Cincinnati) (Eastern subspecies Diceros bicornis michaeli)

    Dubbo’s first birth was male Kusamona in 1996. In 2001, Kusamona went from Dubbo to Fossil Rim. He sired 2 calves, both died young. Kusamona died unexpectedly from a venomous snake bite in 2014.

    1.0 Kusamona (Siabuwa x Kalungwizi) 25/05/1996-00/05/2014

    Several male calves were born from 1996 to 2000.

    In 2002 Dubbo produced their first female calf, Bahkita. She has produced four calves. Her daughter Kafara has also produced a calf, making Mesi the third generation born at Dubbo.

    As of July 2022, 11.4 Black Rhinos have been born at Dubbo:

    1996- Kusamona
    1999- Buta Buta (deceased)
    2000- Chikundo, Jabari (deceased)
    (stillborn)
    (deceased)
    2002- Bahkita
    2003- Induna
    2004- Sentwali
    2005- Mpzeni
    2010- Kufara
    2015- Dafari
    2017- Mesi, Pampoen
    2021- Sabi Star

    Details of deceased calves:

    1.0 Buta Buta (Siabuwa x Kalungwizi) 29/04/1999-18/10/2000. Died from twisted bowel.
    1.0 Jabari (Siabuwa x Utahwedande) 18/04/2000-25/04/2000. Died from gastrointestinal complications.
    1.0 (unk x Musina Pongo) Died when rolled on by mother.
    1.0 (unk x Dongajuma) Stillborn.

    In December 2003, Kwanzaa went on a holiday to Taronga. This was to give him a chance to relax and hopefully encourage him to breed on return to Dubbo.

    In 2007, two males were transferred to Monarto Zoo:

    1.0 Induna (Ibala x Pepe Kalle) 05/04/2003
    1.0 Sentwali (Siabuwa x Dongajuma) 02/10/2004

    In 2008 Dubbo successfully produced the world’s first Black Rhino embryo.

    In total, Western Plains Zoo has held 25 Black Rhinos. 15 calves have been born, with 10 still living.

    5 cows have produced surviving offspring:

    Kalungwizi [Kusamona 1996, Buta Buta 1999, Bahkita 2002, Mpzeni 2005]
    Pepe Kalle [Chikundo 2000, Induna 2003]
    Dongajuma [stillborn, Sentwali 2004]
    Bahkita [Kufara 2010, Dafari 2015, Pampoen 2017, Sabi Star 2021]
    Kufara 2010 [Mesi 2017]

    Musina Pongo produced 1 calf which did not survive.
    Utahwedande produced 1 calf which did not survive.

    As of July 2022, Dubbo Zoo held 8 (4.4) Black Rhino. All of them were born there.

    1.0 Chikundo (Siabuwa x Pepe Kalle) 30/03/2000
    0.1 Bahkita (Siabuwa x Kalungwizi) 22/03/2002
    1.0 Mpzeni (Kwanzaa x Kalungwizi) 14/02/2005
    0.1 Kufara (Ibala x Bahkita) 17/02/2010
    1.0 Dafari (unk x Bahkita) 20/04/2015
    0.1 Mesi (Kwanzaa* x Kufara) 11/04/2017
    1.0 Pampoen (Kwanzaa x Bahkita) 31/10/2017
    0.1 Sabi Star (Kwanzaa x Bahkita) 24/02/2021
     
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  2. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member

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    I plan on doing some history threads for certain species in the region, so will hopefully also research Black Rhinos (at Taronga).
     
  3. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for compiling this @akasha. It’s great to see a comprehensive account of the 25 black rhinoceros held at Dubbo. 15 rhinos bred there is an astounding achievement!
     
  4. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    This is Excellent @akasha
    Actually when I first visited the WPZ in 1977 not long after it opened there were no rhinos at that time but there was a wooden sign in front of a open paddock area saying "Future Black rhino exhibit". As we know in later years a trio of white rhinos was imported from the UK and introduced to the zoo instead. Of interest some years later on another visit I noticed this sign again which was re-purposed for use for the then Bengal Tiger exhibit on the opposite side, since all the letters were carved into the timber they could be easily seen behind it.
     
    Last edited: 22 Jul 2022
  5. Swanson02

    Swanson02 Well-Known Member

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    This is a great resource, I always thought Induna and Sentwali were half brothers, it's good to see they are actually unrelated. Sentwali is also his mother's only surviving offspring which also greatly increases his genetic value. It also seems he's unrelated to a few of the cows at Dubbo so maybe they could be transferred over?
     
  6. Abbey

    Abbey Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for this resource!

    In regard to the female named Taronga you mentioned, the member @jones posted this on 17 Aug 2009 in the thread Rhinos at Taronga:
    "I know a little on the history of Black Rhinos at Taronga Zoo if anyone is interested:

    FERDINAND (M) is originally from Kenya, arrived 13.02.1950 and lived at Taronga until 14.06.1978. His original mate was 'PEGGY' who arrived 16.08.1948, also from Kenya. She died 03.08.1974. That par produced several offspring:
    -TARONGA (F) 23.08.1958 - transferred to DUBBO in 1991 (emphasis mine)
    -POMPEY (F) 26.05.1967 - RIP 24.10.1972
    -BEAUTY (F) 1965 - RIP ???? - not 100% sure she is the offspring of Peggy/Ferdinand. I know she was born at Taronga and dont know of any other breeding black rhinos at the zoo at the time.

    FERDINAND also sired calves with two of his daughters;
    - UNNAMED (F) 19.08.1965 - RIP 21.08.1965 - born to TARONGA"

    A further post by the same member in that thread mentioned this:
    "'DYNAH' arrived at Taronga Aug28, 1981 from the Perth Zoo. She stayed there until she was transferred to Dubbo with 'TARONGA' (born Aug23, 1958). The pair were moved on Nov8, 1991. Both died at Dubbo - DYNAH on May5, 1995 and TARONGA sometime after that.... hope that helps."

    I also believe that one of the females at Dubbo was later known as Rocket - I'm pretty sure she was the female whose ova was used in the IVF embryo. My guess would be that Rocket is Chitundumusere, given that she is the only one of the original cows who never bred, and Rocket was used for IVF owing to the fact that she was genetically valuable and wasn't able to carry a pregnancy herself. More than happy to hear others' thoughts if they know more.

    Hope this helps at all!
     
  7. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Great work @Abbey!

    The embryo did indeed come from Rocket:

    Zoo's Research Delivers World's First IVF Black Rhino Embryo

    Taronga Western Plains Zoo staff and international reproductive experts from Berlin's Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research have achieved a world first by successfully fertilising a Black Rhinoceros egg.The egg was collected from one of the Zoo's Black Rhinoceros females - Rocket, and fertilised on Wednesday with sperm from Black Rhino male, Kwanzaa, creating an embryo.

    The breakthrough is the most significant step in the program since 2006, when Taronga Western Plains Zoo and its collaborative partners achieved the world's first harvest of eggs from a live rhinoceros and this week (6 June 2008) created an embryo which will be cryo-preserved until the technology is developed to transfer to an appropriate recipient
     
  8. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    @akasha It was my understanding that 10 Black rhino were exported to Australia, From what I was told more than 21 years ago by a rhino keeper was at least one died before it reached mainland Australia due to chewing and ingesting of treated timber which was part of the boma complex before they left Africa. the other two died just after arriving at WPZ due to charging into the fence after being released from the transport cates, Also I believe it was in extreme temperature there at that time.
     
    Last edited: 23 Jul 2022
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  9. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member

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    Yes, from research, I see they initially had ten. One died before transport (whilst at the Coco Islands); one died on route, and two died shortly after arrival; a young male due to the extreme temperature and a female after (as you said) - accidentally running into a fence. The young male was the only male out of the ten.
     
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  10. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    That’s a good point regarding the temperatures. Orana Wildlife Park are expecting the import of the first batch of Southern white rhinoceros soon and are timing the import for the colder months. As a result, once the 12 month quarantine period is over (re. export to Australia), they’ll be sent on to Australia during the same time of year, where the heat will be even more extreme.
     
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  11. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member

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    Cheers, Abbey! This completes the picture of black rhinos at Dubbo. Taronga was at Dubbo until at least 2001. She was of the Eastern subspecies (michaeli). (I’ll add this info and probably repost an updated version of the whole thing once there is more current info to add :)).
     
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  12. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member

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    The only other inconsistency I found was an announcement in 2014 that both Kalungwizi and Bahkita were pregnant, but only Bahkita’s calf, Dafari, was subsequently announced. I don’t know what happened with Kalungwizi’s pregnancy, whether she miscarried or the calf died young.
     
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  13. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    I’d assume she miscarried as the pregnancy was announced at approximately four or five months into the 16 month pregnancy (so early days). Alternatively the pregnancy may have ended in stillbirth, which also wouldn’t be announced to the media.
     
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  14. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member

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    GREATER ONE-HORNED RHINO AT DUBBO

    I think most people are familiar with the story of Greater One-horned Rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) at Dubbo, but I will post a summary here for ease of reference.

    In May 2003 Dora arrived at Dubbo from Nagoya Higashiyama Zoo, Japan via Taronga. He was the first of his species to be held in an Australasian Zoo:

    1.0 Dora (Sanver x Nilgiri) 14/08/1999

    His first intended mate died at Taronga before arriving at Dubbo, so a second female was sourced from Oklahoma City Zoo, USA. She arrived at Dubbo in 2009:

    0.1 Amala (Chandra x Mary) 18/01/2006

    Amala has produced 2 calves:

    1.0 Rajah (Dora x Amala) 24/10/2015-23/09/2017. Died of tetanus.
    1.0 Hari (Dora x Amala) 17/10/2021

    As of July 2022, Dubbo was the only zoo in the region to hold Greater One-horned Rhino, with 3 individuals kept there; Dora, Amala and Hari.

    For more details, see this thread:
    Zoofan15’s Guide to Iconic Australasian Zoo Animals
     
  15. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    I too thought the first black rhinoceros at Dubbo were imported in 1992, but came across a news article stating they arrived February 1993. It said they arrived from Zimbabwe on the night of February 3 in Canberra and were transferred February 4 to Dubbo. The only bull in the group of eight was reported to have died on February 6.

    I subsequently came across this article from Taronga which supported this version of events: Celebrating World Rhino Day

    They were captured in November 1992 however and arrived following a three month quarantine at Cocos Island.
     
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  16. akasha

    akasha Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, there is so much conflicting info. I got that date from the studbook. I’ll have a look at that article and make some corrections for my repost. Thanks :)
     
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  17. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    All good. A note that the bull that died on Cocos Island and the cow that died shortly after arriving both died after developing a case of hepatopathy - an abnormal or diseased state of the liver.

    I’ve found a chart monitoring the PCV levels of the female and they drop from 0.45 to 0.16 between 19/03/1993 and 30/04/1993 (presumably the week of her death). For reference, normal PCV range is 0.29 to 0.50.
     
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  18. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member

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    They were captured in Zimbabwe in November, before being sent to the Cocos Islands in December. There they undertook 60 days of quarantine, with a bull dying. They arrived to Canberra late on the 3rd of February 1993; and arrived to Dubbo a day later.
     
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  19. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member

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    I found out that Musinaponga (circa 1983) had mothered a calf prior to her arrival at Dubbo. It was stated (when the four males arrived in 1994) - she would be the first to introduced, being the eldest and already an experienced mother.

    Also, the four males from the US arrived in November 1994.
     
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  20. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    It would have also been important not to have too long a birth interval given they suffer similar reproduction problems to elephants. Her calf would have been at least 2-3 years old upon her export from Zimbabwe, so they were looking at least a five year gap by the time the bulls arrived.

    Kalungwizi, a first time breeder, had just reached reproductive age upon the arrival of the bulls and was their most successful breeder from the import - with her daughter being similarly successful.