World Rhino Day
Celebrating World Rhino Day: September 22, 2012
Although events are happening Saturday all over the world in response to World Rhino Day, everyday is rhino day at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
The Oklahoma City Zoo has been involved in the Species Survival Plan for the Greater One-Horned Rhino also known as the Indian rhino and Black rhino. These are two of the five species of rhino that share our planet; all of which are endangered or threatened in their natural ranges and habitats. Greater One-Horned rhino are considered a threatened species in their home ranges in Asia, whereas the Black rhino is critically endangered in all of its ranges throughout Africa.
The Oklahoma City Zoo supports the Lekerruki Ranger Station located in the Lekerruki Conservancy in Kenya. The last Black rhino were airlifted out of Lekerruki several years ago to save the remaining animals from poachers. Plans were set to bring animals back to the conservancy this year; however those plans have been put on hold due to the increase of poaching events in 2011. Rhino horn is revered in Asian countries where it is believed to be magical and have medicinal benefits. This is a fallacy as rhino horns of all species are made of keratin and hair much like our fingernails and has no scientifically proven medicinal benefits.
Oklahoma City Zoo supports ex-situ conservation by participating in breeding programs for both rhino species in our collection.
In addition to its conservation funds, the Oklahoma City Zoo’s American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) chapter participates in Bowling for Rhinos, a national fundraising event supporting rhino conservation. The Oklahoma City Zoo, its AAZK chapter and the community at large have supported Bowling for Rhinos for 18 years with funds raised totaling near $250,000. One hundred percent of the funds go to conservation. Together we CAN make a difference.
To learn more about World Rhino Day and how you can help rhinos in the wild, visit www.worldrhinoday.org. Or, come bowl with us. Bowling for Rhinos is hosted annually in the summer by the Oklahoma City Zoo’s AAZK chapter. Visit www.okczoo.com/conservation to learn more.
Rhino photos by Michelle Valantine Photography and Gillian Lang respectively.