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.