It’s World Rhino Day 2021 – a day to celebrate and spread awareness for the world’s five rhino species and the work that is being done to ensure they’re around for generations to come.

We've also got some great news to share on this special day - Southern white rhinoceros Jamila is pregnant!

Our keepers are always observing the animals in our care, making sure they’re healthy and in tip-top shape. Our ungulates keepers watch for specific behavioural signs from both Jamila and Zambezi which indicate that Jamila is going through normal oestrous (reproductive hormone) cycles, though these behaviours can be very subtle. If there is a change to the pattern of behaviours, our keepers know that there is a chance that Jamila has become pregnant however, further investigations are required for confirmation. 

Our keepers and veterinarians work closely with New Zealand based researcher Dr. Catherine Morrow, who has 20 years of experience performing endocrinology (hormone analysis) on rhino faecal samples.  We submit rhino faecal samples over several months and Dr. Morrow can then detect whether Jamila is pregnant, which causes a large increase in progestagens as you can see on the graph here

Once confirmed pregnant, we continue this monitoring to track the baby’s progress through the 16-month gestation (length of pregnancy). We’ll keep you updated as the pregnancy progresses, so please stay tuned!

When you visit our rhino at Auckland Zoo, you’re also directly contributing to the conservation of rhino in the wild through our key conservation partnerships. Since 2013, we’ve been partnered with the Lowveld Rhino Trust in Zimbabwe (home to 90% of the worlds black and white rhino) who track and monitor rhino in the wild to confirm their on-going health, treat rhino injured by snares and bullets, and assist authorities in prosecuting poachers.

More recently, we’ve become a strategic partner of the Sumatran Rhino Survival Alliance in Indonesia - an ambitious project working to boost Sumatran rhino numbers (believed to be fewer than 80 individuals in the wild) through a last-chance captive breeding programme.

Auckland Zoo’s Southern white rhinoceros programme is proudly supported by Panasonic New Zealand.


Meet our four-week-old rhino calf Nyah!

Ungulates keeper Gemma introduces the youngest member of our Southern white rhino herd