It’s a rhino on the move, take two.

Hamilton Zoo’s female adult southern white rhinoceros Jamila has successfully moved north to her new home at Auckland Zoo.

The relocation is part of an Australasian zoos’ regional breeding programme for the species.

The operation to transport Jamila occurred earlier this morning, but was kept quiet to ensure a smooth transition. Six-year-old Jamila is now getting used to her new home and Auckland Zoo Curator of Mammals Warren Spencer says the team are excited to introduce her to visitors and rhino males Zambezi and Inkosi.

“We are very happy to finally be welcoming her to Auckland Zoo, with our hope, in due course, she will be able to contribute to the Regional Breeding Programme for her species,” says Mr Spencer.

“It’s been great working with our friends at Hamilton Zoo who are as passionate as us about advocating for and helping the southern white rhino species, near threatened in the wild.”

Hamilton Zoo Ungulates Team Leader Aaron Gilmore said the transfer is a positive move for the regional captive breeding programme of southern 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 pair up and continue to increase the gene pool” says Mr Gilmore.

Jamila is the daughter of Hamilton Zoo’s male Kruger and female Moesha and was born at Hamilton Zoo in March 2012.

“Jamila is such a cool rhino with a lovely nature. We will miss her but know that it was time for her to move on,” says Mr Gilmore.


Rhino Jamila is moving to Auckland!

Watch as the Ungulates team from Hamilton Zoo acquaint Jamila with her travel crate and take bloods, ahead of her move north.

Mr Gilmore and the ungulate team had been working regularly with Jamila to ensure the transfer was as stress-free as possible. Originally planned for September, the transfer was postponed.

“Jamila had been progressing well with her crate training leading up to the September date, but decided on the day she wasn’t in the mood,” says Mr Gilmore.

“Our priority is Jamila, so together with the Auckland Zoo team we took our cues from her and delayed it. Now we’re really happy to have everything run smoothly and we look forward to regular updates on how she’s enjoying life in Auckland.”

Nearly extinct in the early 1900s, successful protection and management has seen southern white rhinos numbers go from less than 100 to over 20,000 in the wild in protected areas and their classification changed to ‘near threatened’. The southern white rhino is one of five rhino species (others are sumatran, javan, black, greater or horned).  The animals are still illegally hunted for their horns.

Southern white rhino Fast Facts

  1. Southern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum) is the largest of the 5 species of rhino (southern white, black, greater on-horned, Javan and Sumatran). It is found mostly in South Africa, with smaller populations in Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe
  2. Conservation status:  Near Threatened (IUCN Red List)
  3. Conservation success:  Once common across southern Africa, these rhino were thought to be extinct in the late 19th century, but in 1895 a small population of less than 100 individuals was discovered in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. After over a century of successful protection and management, they are now classified as ‘Near Threatened’
  4. Current threats: Sadly, poaching for the illegal trade in their horns, remains a major threat to rhino today
  5. Auckland Zoo support for rhino: Auckland Zoo supports the Lowveld Rhino Trust (LRT) in Zimbabwe, a conservation organisation that is working to increase both black and white rhino numbers in the Lowveld region.
  6. Auckland Zoo rhino:  Auckland Zoo is currently home to two southern white rhino – males Zambezi and Inkosi.