Male black rhinoceros “Faru,” which is short for Kifaru (the Swahili name for rhino), arrived at the Cincinnati Zoo on July 21, 2015.
Faru and Seyia – A Match Made…by the SSP!
The 2,800 pound rhino was brought to the Cincinnati Zoo from Zoo Atlanta on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoo and Aquarium’s (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP has determined that Faru and the Cincinnati Zoo’s female black rhino, “Seyia,” are a good genetic match. So, if all goes well, there could be rhino calves in the Zoo’s future!
Keepers have spent the past several months getting to know Faru and his behavioral patterns. He will spend 2 to 6 weeks settling in, learning behaviors, and getting to know the Cincinnati Zoo animal care staff before being introduced to visitors.
“There is frequent communication between keepers before the rhinoceros is transferred. We really try to learn their behavioral patterns and habits so we can best accommodate them once they’ve arrived. The transfer process is incredibly involved,” said head keeper Randy Pairan.
Keeper Marjorie Barthel says, “He is doing well. We are taking things very slowly with him to allow him to move forward with the least amount of stress possible. He has come so far already in his new home. Right now I’m working on building a relationship with him. We need to trust each other.”
Faru was born at the San Antonio Zoological Gardens & Aquarium in 2004. He moved to Atlanta in April 2011 where he bred one calf. Because black rhinos are solitary animals, Faru will stay separated from Seyia until late fall. They will be put together when they are familiar with each other and ready to breed. Introductions are going well.
Faru’s Journey to Cincinnati
So how exactly do you move a large rhino from Atlanta to Cincinnati? Follow Faru’s journey in the images below to find out!
About Black Rhinos
The black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is native to the eastern and central areas of Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. They eat mostly leafy plants, branches, shoots, thorny wood bushes, and fruit. Black rhinos also have two large horns made of keratin that they use for defense, intimidation, and feeding. An adult can weigh anywhere between 1,760 and 3,080 pounds, and newborns (calves) weigh between 35 and 55 pounds. Black rhinos breed year-round and have a gestation period that lasts 15 months. They are one of the oldest known species of mammals.
Faru’s species is critically endangered with more than 115 individuals being managed by the SSP. As recently as 1970, an estimated 65,000 black rhinos could be found throughout sub-Saharan Africa. However, between 1970 and 1992, 96-percent of Africa’s remaining black rhinos were killed in a wave of poaching due to the value of their horns. Heightened conservation efforts following the poaching increase led the black rhino population to grow from 2,410 in 1995 to a current total of 4,848. Today, black rhinos live in protected parks located in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, and Tanzania. Poaching is still a serious problem, threatening to wipe out decades of conservation efforts. Even protected parks experience poaching breeches, which means the amount of safe land available to black rhinos is diminishing.
The Cincinnati Zoo’s Carl H. Lindner Jr. Family Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) will be doing reproductive research on Faru and Seyia as part of the continued efforts to save the black rhinos. All five species of rhinoceros—White, Black, Greater One-Horned (aka Indian), Sumatran, and Javan—are perilously close to extinction in the wild.