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Zoos as Modern Arks...

The hunting and poaching of black rhinoceroses have resulted in one of the most dramatic population declines of these free-ranging animals. In fact, wild black rhinoceros populations decreased by more than 95% between 1960-1995, according to international conservationists.

Black rhinoceros in the wild

Current estimates of wild populations are less than 5,500 individuals and the wild rhinoceros population is at risk of extinction. Zoos can provide protection of these species through captive breeding and reintroduction programs. However, very little is known about black rhinoceros captive breeding. And current captive eastern black rhinoceros populations are not sustainable.

There are only 54 eastern black rhinos in the care of zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Zoos allow opportunities to study black rhinoceros and elucidate many critical pieces of information on black rhino reproduction, which may play a role in helping to save these impressive animals from extinction. Potter Park Zoo is honored to be able to help save these creatures.

Each successful black rhinoceros birth is a step toward helping to save this amazing species.


Contributing Writer(s): Dr. Ronan Eustace, Potter Park Zoo Director of Animal Health and adjunct zoo and wildlife faculty at MSU College of Veterinary Medicine


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