As the species numbers dwindle, the Cincinnati Zoo is hoping to mate their only lady Sumatran rhino with her little brother. Well, I guess that's just one way a zoo can offer family SUPER friendly education. New slogan idea — Zoos: teaching kids how animals naturally act in the wild since... well, uh, hmm...
According to the BrattleBoro Reformer:
The desperation breeding effort with the rhino siblings follows a recent crisis summit in Singapore where conservationists concluded as few as 100 of the two-horned, hairy rhinos might remain in their native southeast Asia. The species numbers have fallen by up to 90 percent since the mid-1980s as development takes away habitat space and poachers hunt them for their prized horns.
According to scientists at the zoo, it's hard to know if they would naturally mate in the wild because there are just so few of them left to study. Critics say "captive breeding programs say they often do more harm than good and can create animals less likely to survive in the wild. Inbreeding increases the possibility of bad genetic combinations for offspring."
As for how the deed will be done:
When the time is right to reintroduce the rhinos, the zoo team won't dim the lights or play mood music. Instead, they will use a system of gates to bring the pair together. If they begin to fight or show other behavior indicating things aren't going well, the team will try to separate them, using bananas for distraction.
Sounds like a solid plan.
Photo via AP