Rhino Jamila is on the move!

Hamilton Zoo rhino Jamila makes the trip north to her new home at Auckland Zoo this week as part of a planned breeding programme for the threatened species.

The relocation is part of the Australasian zoos’ regional breeding programme for southern white rhino.

Nearly extinct in the early 1900s, successful protection and management has seen their numbers go from less than 100 to over 20,000 in the wild in protected areas and their classification changed to ‘near threatened’.

Jamila is the daughter of Hamilton Zoo’s male Kruger and female Moesha, and was born at Hamilton Zoo is March 2012. She will join Auckland Zoo rhino males Zambezi and Inkosi.

“Jamila is such a cool rhino with a lovely nature. We will miss her but know that it is time for her to move on,” says Hamilton Zoo Ungulates Team Leader Aaron Gilmore.

“She’s a real mummy’s girl but I’ve watched her grow up over the last six years and she’s really starting to come into her own.”

Mr Gilmore believes the transfer is a positive move for the regional captive breeding programme of white rhinos, which is carefully managed to maximise the gene pool and ensure an appropriate population is maintained.

“We’ve had exceptional success with our rhino breeding with seven calves born here and Jamila’s move to Auckland Zoo offers the chance for her to eventually pair up and continue this.”

Both zoos have been preparing for the move over the last few months, with conditioning of Jamila taking place to ensure the transfer is as smooth and stress free as possible.

“We have spent a lot of time introducing Jamila to the crate she’ll be in during the move,” Mr Gilmore says.

“Every morning when she comes out of the night yards, her keepers have spent time conditioning her to go into the crate so on the day of the move it won’t all be brand new.”

The Auckland Zoo team has also been down to see Jamila and are excited about her arrival.

Auckland Zoo Curator of Mammals Warren Spencer says: “It’s been great working with our Hamilton Zoo friends organising Jamila’s move, and also continuing to recognise the importance of both our zoos as voices and advocated for this threatened species.”

“Our hope is Auckland will welcome a beautiful calf in the future.”