TAMPA, Fla. (November 12, 2008) – Busch Gardens Tampa Bay welcomed a new baby white rhinoceros on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009. The female rhino was born in the night quarters adjacent to their 26-acre white rhino habitat on Busch Gardens’ Serengeti Plain.
Weighing in at an estimated 100 pounds, the newborn – who has yet to be named – is the third calf born to mother Mlaleni and father Tambo. The October 2004 birth of Mlaleni and Tambo’s first calf, Malaika, marked the first white rhino birth in the adventure park’s history. Their second calf, Dakari, was born in August 2006, and their third, Crash, was born in May 2008.
Busch Gardens participates in the American Zoological and Aquarium Association (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) to ensure genetic diversification among threatened and endangered animals in zoological facilities. The birth brings the total white and black rhino population at the adventure park to 12. (white, 9 and 3 black)
Mlelani, Tambo and another female white rhino were airlifted from Kruger National Park in South Africa in 2001 through the efforts of the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of rhinos. According to the IRF, just over 14,530 white rhinos remain in the wild, and fewer than 170 live in zoological facilities across North America.
In 2008, the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund donated $5,000 to Friends of Conservation, $15,000 to International Rhino Foundation, $10,000 to Rhino Fund Uganda and $10,000 to Tusk Trust to support rhino conservation efforts in the wild. The Fund was created in 2003 by the Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks and is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable foundation dedicated to supporting environmental and wildlife conservation initiatives. Since its inception, the Fund has granted $5 million to more than 350 projects in the U.S. and around the world.