Staff at Chester Zoo hope that a new arrival from Germany will boost their rare breeds programme. Twenty-nine-year-old Kifaru - an Eastern black rhino - is settling in to his new home after travelling from Hannover Zoo. Staff in Chester hope their new arrival will sire a number of new calves and bring vital new blood to the European population of Eastern black rhinos – a species classed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered in the wild.
The zoo’s curator of mammals, Tim Rowlands, said:“With a species that’s as highly threatened with extinction as the Eastern black rhino, all individuals in the European breeding programme are important.“As so few individuals exist, it is essential that we achieve successful breeding from as many of the rhinos in zoos as possible. Kifaru has only sired three calves previously; this means he has a great opportunity to add to the dwindling numbers of black rhino which makes him one of the most important rhinos around. Any offspring he may go on to produce here would bring vital genetics to the European population. “This population is vital as an insurance policy against further declines in the wild and the more successful the population is, the better that insurance policy can be.“We have one of the best records in the world when it comes to breeding rhinos, so fingers crossed we can encourage Kifaru to work his magic with our females.”