Gladys Porter Zoo Staff Welcomes New Rhino
After months of hard work, it is with great joy that Zoo staff introduced its newest member, Bebop, a five year old male Southern white rhino, to the crash, which is what a group of rhinos is called, and all three are now on display for the public to view. So, make plans to visit the Zoo to see them interact with one another!
“Integrating a new rhino to an established crash can be rough and tumble and not for the faint at heart, especially because of their size. There is a fine line between typical “get to know you behavior” and “aggressive behavior” that can lead to a serious outcome; therefore, a great deal of work and supervision on behalf of our knowledgeable rhino crew is required” says Dr. Patrick Burchfield.
Bebop arrived at the Gladys Porter Zoo on March 18, 2018 from The Center for Conservation of Tropical Ungulates in Punta Gorda, Florida. As with any other animal that comes to the Zoo, Bebop underwent a 30 day quarantine period before being introduced into his exhibit.
After the quarantine period, keepers began adjusting him to his new exhibit and to our resident females, Julie and Abby, by placing them in side-by-side enclosures to get acquainted. This allowed them to be able to see and smell each other with the safety of a barrier between them. On August 21st, introductions began with the youngest female, Abby. A few weeks later, on October, 24th, keepers introduced Bebop to the oldest female, Julie. All three rhinos were placed on exhibit together for the first time on October 30th, and as Zoo staff hoped, they all got along great!
Zoo staff hope that Bebop will successfully breed with the females and, in turn, will produce some healthy calves. This would be a great success for the species.
Southern white rhinos are the more social of the rhino species. They can be found in groups of up to 6 individuals. Although, this is becoming increasingly more uncommon due to their decreasing numbers in the wild. White rhinos are listed as near threatened by the IUCN List of Endangered Species. Their biggest threats come from habitat loss and poaching.