TORONTO, ON, Thursday, May 24, 2018: Toronto Zoo is very excited to announce our growing male white rhinoceros calf ‘Theodore’ has reached a new milestone and has begun venturing into his outdoor habitat in the African Savanna! While he has had access to an outdoor yard attached to the White Rhino House, this was his first time out into the main rhino habitat. You might be lucky and catch a glimpse of Theodore eagerly exploring his new outdoor space during early morning sessions alongside mom, Zohari, and his Aunt Sabi.
Theodore was born on Sunday, December 24, 2017, to the Toronto Zoo’s seven year-old female white rhinoceros. Theodore weighed 62.3 kg when born and now weighs in at just over 317 kg – that’s just over 700 lbs!
*Please note, at this time Theodore does not have a confirmed viewing schedule as he is still young and exploring his new area. Updates will be provided as they become available.
Theodore’s birth is very important for white rhinoceros conservation as the species is currently listed as Near Threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. There are approximately 19,682 – 21,077 left in the wild according to the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group 2016. At one point, the species was as low as 20 animals left in the wild in South Africa’s Umfalozi Game Reserve but they were brought back from the brink of extinction through amazing conservation efforts. Their listing as Near Threatened is due to the continued increase in poaching for their horn in the black market trade. The population is heavily dependent on range state protection and if this is not maintained, the population could be upgraded to Vulnerable or even worse.
The Toronto Zoo is part of the White Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan (SSP), which aims to establish and maintain healthy, genetically diverse populations, and overall conservation efforts to save this incredible species. One of the Toronto Zoo's mandates is to educate visitors on current conservation issues and help preserve the incredible biodiversity on the planet. The Toronto Zoo is in a great position to bring forward the plight of the white rhinoceros and supports rhinoceros conservation efforts in the wild through keeper events and the Toronto Zoo Endangered Species Reserve Fund.