April 5

First rhino copulations at BIOPARC Valencia within the international project for the conservation of this threatened species

Human greed for their prodigious horn causes 1.000 rhino deaths a year and their protection is a priority. The group of rhinos made up of one male and three females in the Valencian park has a fundamental role in the controlled breeding of this “giant” to try to prevent its extinction. BIOPARC offers a unique vision in a multispecies enclosure with diverse birds, the peculiar red-necked ostrich and Hartmann's zebras.

The tragic future of the northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum ssp. cottoni) with only two living representatives, two females, places it literally on the verge of extinction. In vitro fertilization is the only hope and the scientific and conservation community is committed to it. This terrible situation is the best example of what we must avoid and shows that efforts have to be directed towards anticipated and coordinated action and towards raising awareness in society. These two courses of action were the origin of the BIOPARC, both its Foundation as well as the parks of Fuengirola, Valencia and the Gijón Aquarium.

The creation in BIOPARC Valencia from a controlled breeding group with the male Martin and three females Ami, Nombula and Kwanza within the international preservation program (EEP) of the southern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum) is part of this fundamental work of biodiversity protection. The animal care team has been applying all the necessary protocols to provide maximum well-being and promote optimal integration. As a result, they have finally been able to verify the first copulations. It is important to highlight the great difficulty of procreation in this species and, although at the moment there is no confirmation of pregnancy, these first encounters are very positive. This subspecies of rhinoceros is included in the IUCN Red List (International Union for the Preservation of Nature) with a population of 10.000 individuals and a very worrying decreasing trend. Its main threat is poaching for the absurd but lucrative business it entails amputate its prodigious horn, a symbol of social status in some societies and to which false medicinal properties are attributed when in reality it is simply made up of keratin, like our hair or nails. The horrible result is an average of 1.000 rhinos killed per year.

At BIOPARC we can admire this impressive animal in a multispecies enclosure truly extraordinary, in the area that recreates the savanna. Together to the four rhinos There are other species also included in preservation projects: the red neck ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus), critically endangered with an estimate of less than 1.000 individuals; the Hartmann's zebra (Equus zebra hartmannae), also in a vulnerable situation; and various very unique birds such as the marabou (Leptoptilos crumeniferus), the pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) and the sacred ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus).

On the other hand, the park is in an exceptional moment, which represents the best opportunity to bring the population closer to the threatened wild nature and mobilize towards caring for the environment. Currently the visitor has the possibility of contemplating “little elephant” only 3 weeks old and the little elephant Makena, just over a year old; in the chimpanzee zone, to the 10-week-old calf and little Djibril who will soon be 5 years old; and right next door, the gorilla family also with the little ones born at BIOPARC. Also, this week the park has extended its hours until 20 p.m. and has increased the daily programming until the 8th with more than 15 free activities. There are attractive options for all ages, from children's “face painting”, guided routes, and meetings with technical staff, to two sessions of the renowned Educational exhibition of birds and mammals "The circle of life". Altogether, a complement to turn the visit to BIOPARC into a unique experience of “leisure with a cause”.

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