"Happy birthday to you, you live in a zoo, you look like a rhino aaaand... you smell like one too!"
Our gorgeous little Savannah the southern white rhino had her first birthday yesterday and crikey did she celebrate in style, being treated to a luxurious mud bath and facial by her keepers! Savannah was the first EVER rhino born at Australia Zoo, on April 12 last year bright and early at 3.15am. She was only 60kg at birth, and today weighed in at a whopping 640kg!
Savannah's mum, Caballe, has been with Australia Zoo since August 2010 after she travelled from Hamilton Zoo in Auckland. Caballe and Savannah are Southern white rhinoceros, which are listed as 'near threatened' by the IUCN due to continued poaching threats and the high illegal demand for its horn.
One of Africa's 'Big 5' animals, the rhino is endangered, with an estimated 20,150 white rhinos left in the wild and 780 in captivity. "White rhinos are doing the best of all the rhino species, numbering more than all the other species put together," said Australia Zoo head of Africa Manu Ludden.
"This hasn't always been the case though, with numbers dropping to less than 100 individuals at the turn of the century, so they are a great success story." Australia Zoo is part of a regional co-operative programme, working with other zoos in Australasia to maximise breeding potential and genetic diversity of the white rhino. "Poaching remains the Rhinos' biggest threat, but through intense anti-poaching strategies, numbers have climbed, however they are still highly at risk," said Manu.