Great Plains Zoo Strengthens Conservation Efforts

Eastern black rhino mother and calf

Great Plains Zoo strives to conserve and protect the Eastern black rhino.

Imara is one of the last hopes for the Eastern black rhino population, so the officials from the Great Plains Zoo are doing their best to help this endangered species recover. The Eastern black rhino originates from Africa and has been massively hunted by poachers.

A rhino’s horn is worth $30,000 on the black market, and although it serves for medicinal purposes across Asia, it didn’t prove any medical value.

The Great Plains Zoo Project

This animal can weigh up to 2,500 pounds, so it takes a long time until a calf becomes an adult. Unfortunately, there are only 740 specimens left in the wild and other 57 in zoos throughout North America.

Imara has been living in the zoo since 1999. During this time, she gave birth to three calves, while the last one was born in September.  According to Elizabeth Whaley, Great Plains Zoo CEO and President, if poachers continue killing rhinos, this species will be wiped out in maximum a few decades.

The Great Plains Zoo is conducting a comprehensive conservation program to protect and preserve the Eastern black rhino. Imara has a male companion, called Jubba, with which she produced two of the three offspring.

The first calf was a female, named Kapuki, which gave birth to the first rhino in Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago) in twenty-four years. The calf is a male born in 2013. Also, the second calf, a male called Kiano, has found a mate in the Blank Park Zoo (Des Moines), which gave birth to a calf on October 11th.

The Great Plains Zoo is home to 139 animal species, whereas 24 of them are endangered. According to Whaley, the zoo’s officials are proud that they can handle such a large number of species, especially those endangered.

AZA Standards

This haven for animals meets the highest animal care standards because for the past 25 years, it has been part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. There are over 2,400 zoos across the U.S., and just 216 of them are on the AZA list.

There is an eight-month process through which any zoo must undergo until it receives AZA approval. If the animal facility receives it, the accreditation has a five-year lasting period.

That is also the case for the Great Plains Zoo. According to Rob Vernon, AZA senior vice president, the standards are constantly evolving, so any zoo must comply with them in order to receive accreditation at every five years.

Image Source: CDN

About June Harris

June was born and raised in Ligonier, a small historic town in Pennsylvania. She befriended TV cameras at an early age when she was selected to feature in a local TV series for children. Her passion for entertainment grew bigger after June was named Miss Pennsylvania at 16 years old. She was co-opted in various projects ever since and is now a strong promoter of fitness and health activities.