(Not) scared to go out
Vungu the rhinoceros has finally ventured outside! In September he was moved from England to Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam, into the newly renovated pachyderm wing. At first, however, he had trouble getting used to his new home.
The young black rhinoceros remained in a corner, sulking, and would not be encouraged to investigate the outdoor enclosure. A temporary swap of enclosure with his neighbour Naima, however, caused a change. The large dung heap in Naima’s space must have smelled lovely to Vungu. The message, that a young female was near, snapped him out of his bad mood quite visibly, and off he went to investigate the outdoor enclosure.
Black rhinos are known to be difficult to keep. These animals are quick-tempered and generally solitary in nature, seeking companionship only when the female is in season. That won’t be soon for Naima and Vungu: Naima is only two years old, and black rhinos do not reach reproductive maturity until they are five to seven years of age. Blijdorp Zoo does hope that, in the long run, this couple will make their own contribution to the black rhinoceros breeding programme.
The picture shows a black rhino in another zoo.