First Rhino Arrives Safely at the Zoo - Meet Taj!

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

The first of two rhinos has arrived safely at Woodland Park Zoo. After a two-day road trip from San Diego, Taj, a male greater one-horned rhino, arrived on April 6th in healthy condition. Trained in preparation for the move, the 17-month-old animal traveled in a custom-made trailer driven by an expert who specializes in moving rhinos.

tajTaj will live in the new special exhibition, Assam Rhino Reserve. The exhibit opens May 5 and will mark the first time rhinoceros will live at the 92-acre conservation institution in the zoo’s 118-year history.

Pronounced like Taj Mahal, Taj means “crown” or “jewel” in Hindi. He was born Nov. 10, 2016 at San Diego Zoo Safari Park and is the 70th greater one-horned rhino born at the Safari Park since 1972, making the Park the foremost breeding facility in the world for this rhino species.

“Taj has spent his first few days inside the barn settling in and becoming familiar with his new surroundings and rhino care keepers. Starting this week, we will begin introducing him to the outdoor exhibit yards where he will also be in standard quarantine,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. He will be off view to guests until the exhibit opens.

Another male, Glenn, will soon join Taj. Glenn was born a day apart from Taj on Nov. 11, 2016 at The Wilds, a 10,000-acre conservation center and safari park located in Cumberland, Ohio and operated by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. He was named in honor of the late astronaut and Senator John Glenn, who was a dear friend of the Ohio conservation organization.

Currently weighing about 1,500 pounds apiece, the juvenile rhinos are still growing and will weigh between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds when fully grown.

Taj and Glenn will be 18 months old when they make their debut to the region’s community. “This is a natural age when rhino calves are weaned and separate from their mothers,” said Ramirez. “Through the Species Survival Plan for greater one-horned rhinos, we are playing a supporting role by providing a home for these young males who are not ready to start families yet.” The Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plans are conservation breeding programs across accredited zoos to help ensure healthy, self-sustaining populations of threatened and endangered species.

Five species of rhinos survive today: black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan. In the last 200 years, the rhino population has plummeted from one million to fewer than 30,000 worldwide.

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