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New female rhino arrives at Fota Wildlife Park

Fota Wildlife Park has welcomed a new female rhino, Maya, to the conservation.

The Indian Rhino arrived at the Park on the 23rd January from the French Zoo, Botanical Garden Branféré near Nantes and has been hit with people from all across Cork.

Maya was originally born in Rotterdam Zoo and is currently is the only female Indian Rhino residing in an Irish zoological organisation. The Indian Rhino is also known as the greater one-horned rhino and is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The popular zoo are now hoping to breed Maya with resident male Jamil as part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP).

Ranger Aidan Rafferty said: “Maya is only here a few weeks but is already settling in incredibly well. The captive breeding of Indian Rhino - like all the species in Zoos and Aquaria that are members of EAZA - involves careful selection and control of the genetics by a studbook manager - in practical terms we hope that this pair will get on very well together.

"So far the signs are good - while they have not been introduced to each other directly -they can see and smell each other across their neighbouring paddocks and they both seem to have a very healthy interest in each other.”  

“Looking after and introducing a potential breeding pair - such as these Indian Rhino - is a very specialised process. They both will be allowed to get to know each other from a very safe distance and depending on how well that is going we then plan to move the pair closer together and we hope they will produce a baby rhino in the next few years as the eventual outcome.”

Both Maya and Jamil currently weight approximately 1800 kg, but a fully-grown adult can weigh up to 2200kg- which is over two tonnes of weight. Rhinoceroses are the largest land mammals after the elephant and are made up of five species, two African and three Asian. 

In terms of conservation, the situation has improved for the Indian Rhino which, like the other species was under threat from poaching, in particular for their horn, and habitat loss. The wild population has gradually grown in the last 100 years across the Indian subcontinent from 1,800 in the early 1990s to over 2,500 in 2019.

For more information on Fota Wildlife Park and the work that they do with conservationism, check out their website or on social media.

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