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Africa Alive! welcomes arrival of two southern white rhinos, Tootsie and Zimba



The southern white rhinos are making themselves at home in the enclosure at Africa Alive! in Kessingland, near Lowestoft.
The pair  a female named Tootsie, from ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, and a young male called Zimba, from Flamingo Land, in North Yorkshire  arrived at the end of April.
Both were sent on the recommendation of the coordinator for the European breeding programme for the species.
Tootsie and Zimba are an example of zoo’s pooling resources in order to increase the breeding potential of animals in their care.
Cranes had to be organised to load and unload a large travelling crate onto the bed of a low loader, and a company experienced in moving rhinos had to be employed to carry out the transport. Local company ‘Wave Trade’ is used to load and unload all of the park’s rhinos.
Both arrived safely and in good health, and Tootsie has already been successfully introduced to both resident females, Norma and Njiri. They are now starting to form a bond, while Zimba is getting used to being in the ‘Plains of Africa’ facility and mixing with reticulated giraffe, plains zebra, blesbok antelope and ostrich, before being introduce to the three females.
The southern white rhino can be found mostly in South Africa, with smaller translocated populations found in Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe, living in both long and short grass savannah areas.
Courtship lasts up to a day and mating can last from 20 minutes to an hour. Gestation period is about 16 months.
The southern white rhino is classified as ‘near threatened’ by the IUCN Red List, due to continued and escalating poaching in recent years, and high illegal demand for horn.
There is actually no colour difference between the black and white rhino species. The ‘white’ component of the name may have resulted from a mistranslation of the Afrikaans word ‘wyd’, meaning ‘wide’ and referring to the mouth.
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