Three Endangered Rhinos Arrive At Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park
As part of Wildlife World’s dedication to Rhino conservation, the zoo has been hard at work consulting, researching, and planning its innovative and recently completed Rhino facility that will be part of the new 9-acre Safari Park expansion expected to open in early 2018.
Over the past twenty years, Wildlife World has supplied in-kind support, staff expertise, and tens of thousands of dollars to local, national, and international organizations dedicated to the survival of the world’s most endangered species, including $20,500 to rhino conservation efforts. The entire Rhino population is at risk. At the start of the 20th Century five hundred thousand rhinos roamed the wild. By 1970, the worldwide population fell to seventy thousand. Today, only twenty-nine thousand rhinos survive in the wild.
With the rhino’s species survival at stake, select rhino populations are being protected by armed guards instructed to “shoot on site” as a last ditch effort to preserve the iconic creatures. In South Africa alone, poachers kill three or more rhinos per day in order to meet the black market demand for rhino horn, which is believed to be an aphrodisiac in some Asian cultures.
All five living rhino species (Black, White, Greater One-Horned, Sumatran, and Javan) are in terrible peril–from poaching, forest loss, and habitat conversion from human settlements encroaching on their habitats in Africa, Indonesia, and India. Rhinos live in small, isolated populations that often cannot get together to breed.
In 2011, the Western Black Rhino, a subspecies of the Black rhino, was declared extinct due to poaching. The burgeoning middle classes in China and Vietnam are increasingly able to afford rhino horn. This demand drives record poaching rates. Even in light of their fading population, poachers continuously break into rhino orphanages, sanctuaries, and are even starting to target zoos in order to slaughter these animals for their ivory, which is made of nothing more than keratin—the same protein that makes up your hair and nails.
“It’s my hope that through education and awareness, we can work together in the fight for the rhino’s survival—to guarantee a viable genetic population and ensure that no more rhino species go extinct. If the persecution of this species continues, we will likely see the rhino go extinct within our lifetime,” says Mickey Ollson, Director & Founder of Wildlife World.
Rhinos are in a crisis. The majority are not as lucky as these girls who now call Wildlife World Zoo Aquarium and Safari Park home. The young rhinos will remain off exhibit while they acclimate and settle into their new home until early 2018. Arizona’s climate lends itself to these magnificent animals and provides the girls with a perfect environment to flourish and thrive, all the while being an ambassador for their species and inspiring people to conserve and protect their wild counterparts.
In the words of Jack Ewert, Wildlife World’s Deputy Director, “It’s immensely rewarding to know that Wildlife World had the resources and capabilities to get these girls out of Africa where they are no longer at risk of being slaughtered by poachers. It feels great to know that all our hard work has finally paid off and we’ve probably saved their lives.”
As an USDA licensed, private institution, accredited by the Zoological Association of America (ZAA) and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums (AMMPA), Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park receives zero taxpayer funding. No tax dollars have ever been spent to build or operate Wildlife World in its nearly 33-year history.
Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park is located at 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park, AZ (SE corner of state route 303 and northern Ave.) We’re open seven days a week, 365 days a year, including all holidays. Zoo exhibits are open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (last zoo admission is at 5:00 p.m.) Aquarium exhibits are open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Admission includes access to the zoo, aquarium and safari park.
For more info: (623) 935-WILD (9453) or visit us on Facebook, Instagram, on Twitter @ZooWildlife, and www.WildlifeWorld.com.
Find out more about what you can do to help support rhino conservation efforts:
World Wildlife Fund: https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/rhino
Save the Rhino: https://www.savetherhino.org
International Rhino Foundation: http://rhinos.org