World Rhino Day Celebrated at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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Almost 200 people—including San Diego Zoo Safari Park rhino keepers, high school conservation club members, San Diego Zoo Global staff members and Safari Park volunteers—celebrated World Rhino Day by taking part in a sky art project. The crowd assembled a 60- by 44-foot image depicting the Safari Park’s beloved Nola, a 41-year-old northern white rhino, who is one of only four remaining in the world.  World Rhino Day is celebrated internationally on Sept. 22 each year, to raise awareness of the five species of rhinos in the world: black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan. San Diego Zoo Global has been working for decades to help rhinos, which are facing the worst poaching crisis in history. An average of three rhinos a day are being killed in the wild. Rhinos are poached for their horns, which are made from keratin—the same material that forms human fingernails and hair.  San Diego Zoo Global has one of the most successful rhino breeding programs in the world. To date, there have been 93 southern white rhinos, 68 greater one-horned rhinos and 14 black rhinos born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

A crowd at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park celebrated World Rhino Day by assembling a 60- by 44-foot image depicting Nola, the Park’s beloved 41-year-old northern white rhino.

Volunteers Create Sky Art Photo of Beloved Northern White Rhino, Nola

In celebration of World Rhino Day, almost 200 people—including San Diego Zoo Safari Park rhino keepers, high school conservation club members, San Diego Zoo Global staff members, and Safari Park volunteers—participated in a sky art project at the Safari Park’s African Plains Overlook earlier today. When the art cards were raised in unison, they formed a 60- by 44-foot drawing of Nola, the Safari Park’s beloved northern white rhino—one of only four of this species remaining on the planet.

World Rhino Day is celebrated internationally on Sept. 22 each year, to raise awareness of the five species of rhinos in the world: black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan. World Rhino Day activities at the Safari Park included the Nola sky art; special rhino-themed enrichments for many of the Safari Park’s animals; and a rhino conservation pledge and coloring activity. Guests were also able to meet the rhino keeper team and learn about San Diego Zoo Global’s rhino conservation efforts.

“The plight of rhinos in the wild is reaching a critical stage, with the current poaching crisis, and there is an urgent need to protect this iconic species for future generations,” said Jane Kennedy, lead mammal keeper, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “Today, our rhino keeper team and Safari Park staff are sharing information about rhinos, with the hope people will gain a greater appreciation for these animals and want to do everything they can to save the species for future generations.”

San Diego Zoo Global has been working for decades to help rhinos, and has one of the most successful rhino breeding programs in the world. To date, a total of 93 southern white rhinos, 68 greater one-horned rhinos and 14 black rhinos have been born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

To further its commitment to rhino conservation, San Diego Zoo Global is building a Rhino Rescue Center at the Safari Park to house more southern white rhinos, establishing the Safari Park as a sanctuary to protect these rhinos and their offspring—at a time when an average of three rhinos are killed each day in the wild by poachers. Taking a science-based approach, researchers at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, along with collaborators, are also developing reproductive techniques necessary to preserve the genetics of the critically endangered northern white rhino and all rhino species.

For more information on San Diego Zoo Global’s rhino conservation efforts visit endextinction.org/rhinos.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.

Photo taken on Sept. 22, 2015 by Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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