Hamilton Zoo’s latest rhino calf has been named Samburu and he's being celebrated with a unique zoo experience.
The male calf was born on 28 Jun 2016, and is the seventh member of his species born at Hamilton Zoo.
Samburu arrived after his mother Kito’s 16-month pregnancy and the calf brings the number of white rhinos at Hamilton Zoo to six. As well as Kito, he joins father Kruger and females Imani, Moesha and her daughter Jamila.
Where possible names are selected with a connection to their natural habitat says Hamilton Zoo Acting Curator Catherine Nichols.
“The Samburu people are pastoralists who live in the Rift Valley province of Northern Kenya, part of the natural range of the white rhino,” Mrs Nichols says.
A Trade Me auction will launch this week featuring a unique rhino experience at Hamilton Zoo with 100 per cent of the money raised going to the Hamilton Zoo Conservation Fund, which supports conservation projects at home and abroad.
The experience will include footprint artwork from Samburu and his mum Kito, a rhino Eye2Eye encounter and also the opportunity to get up close with Samburu and Kito.
“Samburu is not taking part in the rhino encounters yet so this will be the first chance for a member of the public to get up close to him, which is pretty exciting,” Mrs Nichols says.
Although still hunted and poached for their horns - believed to have medicinal qualities in some cultures - about 20,000 southern white rhino exist in protected areas and private game reserves.
Zoos play their part by showcasing animals as ambassadors for wild populations and conservation projects, as well as providing genetically sound reserve populations.