Guadalajara, Mexico, Oct 18 (EFE). -Two Indian rhinos have found a home in the zoo of the Mexican city of Guadalajara, the only one in the country that will house specimens of their species “Rhinoceros unicornis”. The aim is to promote their reproduction and conservation in the face of their imminent extinction.
Bali, an eight-year-old male rhino, and Antjali, a four-year-old female, arrived on Aug. 30 in coordination with the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums and are still adjusting to their new space, Carlos Gómez, director of the Mega Vertebrates and Behavior Management Area of the Guadalajara Zoo, told EFE.
The two are living separately for now due to the age of the female, who has been slower to adapt, mainly because she was just weaned from her mother at ZooParc Beauval, in France, before traveling to Mexico.
“They’re not living together now because they’re from different zoos. The male is eight (years old), weighs about 2,200 kilos and the female weighs about 1,200 kilos, so we are waiting for the female to finish maturing in order to carry out the pairing process,” the specialist said.
Gómez explained that rhinos are solitary animals and only coexist with others during the pre-reproduction courtship period or when the mothers are with their calves, a time that can last several years in addition to the 480-day gestation period.
The Indian rhinoceros is native to India and Nepal, and there are only a handful of individuals in the wild, totaling just under 4,000 worldwide.
They stand out for their grayish, thick, and wrinkled skin, which resembles an armor or shell that they developed as part of their evolution to protect themselves and survive.
Bali and Antjali spend their days playing in the meadow, refreshing themselves in special pools, and eating plenty of food: from oats and grass to lettuce, chard, apples, and carrots.
“These animals need to eat constantly for a large part of the day. They can grow up to four meters long and weigh between 2,600 and 2,700 kilograms,” says Gómez.
The purpose of the presence of the rhinos at the Guadalajara Zoo is reproduction and conservation, as well as environmental education of the public.
“People should know about what we have on the planet to be able to take care of it, so we are going to have interactions where they get closer to them, which is very impressive. When you touch them, hear how they breathe, see their eyes, these are positive experiences to convey the message of conservation and education, “he concluded. EFE