Another rhino baby arrives on Uganda’s Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

RHINO FUND UGANDA REPORTS THE ARRIVAL OF RHINO NUMBER 15

(Posted 02nd April 2014)

Good news came from the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary when Executive Director Angie Genade, at shortly past 7 p.m. reported yet another birth, this time Bella having her third calf since she arrived on the sanctuary.

The Rhino Fund Uganda started out with bringing to Uganda, where all rhinos had in the early 1980’s been poached to extinction, two Southern Whites’ from Kenya’s Solio Rhino Sanctuary, sponsored by the Sheraton Kampala Hotel and by business mogul Sudhir Ruparelia at the time, with the two animals aptly named Sherino and Kabira. Those two have since then been kept in a specially constructed enclosure, also paid for by the Rhino Fund through the generous support of sponsors and donors, at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe.

The 6 adult rhinos at the main sanctuary – four were brought in from Kenya’s Solio Rhino Sanctuary and two more donated by Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida – have formed the core of a breeding herd in the meantime and produced, as of today, three offspring each by the adult females.

Sadly is the success of reproduction on the sanctuary not matched by the UWEC pair of Kabira and Sherino which have produced not one offspring, raising valid questions why the UWEC female has failed to conceive and give birth.

Suggestions by sections of the conservation fraternity in Uganda and searching questions by one of the two sponsors, to have the UWEC based female brought to Ziwa for the purpose of breeding have so far not been acted upon, and only last week was the question asked of me, in my capacity as Acting Chairman of RFU, if showing them off to visitors is more important than actually meeting the very purpose they were brought into Uganda for, which is to breed. Indeed it will be the progressive increase in numbers on Ziwa which will eventually allow the release of a core breeding herd into one of Uganda’s national parks, with both Murchisons Falls and Kidepo earmarked for that purpose and the more rhino babies are produced the faster will that medium term objective be met. Legitimate questions no doubt and answers will be sought from all parties concerned to ensure the Entebbe female too can eventually conceive and deliver.

The latest birth on the sanctuary, again in the space of almost exactly two years since Bella’s last calf was born, has established what must be a new ‘speed record’ in rhino reproduction and speaks volumes for the dedicated work done by Angie and her team, who are protecting and, whenever necessary, nursing these rhinos around the clock.

The sex of the newborn is still to be established and an update will be provided in due course, when details and pictures are available, as light conditions were already too poor at the time. Visitors to Ziwa can now look forward to meeting any of the 15 adult, adolescent and baby rhinos for the completion of seeing the Big Five while visiting the Pearl of Africa on a safari.

Thanks again go to all collaborators who have contributed to make the Rhino Fund’s breeding programme a success, development partners, donors, the Roy family for their generosity in allowing the Ziwa ranch to be converted into a sanctuary, the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities for their unwavering support and assistance on the political and policy level, the Uganda Tourism Police for placing personnel on the sanctuary and last but not least to the Uganda Wildlife Authority for providing the prerequisite licenses and permits to RFU which make it possible to carry out their work. The deployment of additional armed rangers on the sanctuary by UWA in fact goes to show how close the cooperation between RFU and UWA has grown, all joined in a common objective of bringing back the prized rhinos to Uganda’s national parks.

For more information about the Rhino Fund Uganda and their work in re-introducing rhinos to Uganda through a breeding programme, visit www.rhinofund.org.

 

This picture was just released by the Rhino Fund Uganda, together with the confirmation that the new born rhino baby is a little girl.

 

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