Monarto Zoo’s plans for Wild Africa will expand later this year with 30 Southern White Rhinoceros on the road to arriving in the Murraylands.
The endangered Rhinos will be rescued from South Africa, where the poaching crisis threatens their extinction.
On their arrival, Monarto Zoo will hold the biggest Rhino collection in the country.
If all plans go ahead, another 50 Rhinos could make Australian Zoo’s their home over the next two years.
Monarto Zoo is one of the Australian Zoo’s working with The Australian Rhino Project, who are collaborating to safeguard this species.
The Rhinos will be the first to arrive at Monarto since the seven from Kruger National Park, South Africa in 2002.
Zoos SA Chief Executive Officer Elaine Bensted said it is essential to save these Rhinos and Monarto Zoo is thrilled to begin the process.
“They are critically endangered, 1200 are slaughtered each year despite their species count at just 20,000,” she said.
Ms Bensted said the Rhinos are killed in South Africa under fallacious pretenses.
“They are killing horrifically for their horns because it is believed that they contain a cure for a range of different diseases and this is incorrect,” she said.
“Horns are made of keratin, the same stuff in human finger nails and hair.”
Quarantine stages will prolong the process of their arrival but Ms Bensted said plans are in place to have 20 Rhinos arrive to Australia each year until all 80 are here.
“Six should arrive later this year, initially to Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, New South Wales before three are transferred here to Monarto,” she said.
Shadow Minister for Tourism Anthony Albanese said the new Rhinos are great for tourism in the region.
“The project will make positive contributions to sustainability and economic growth with job increases and is an attraction to tourists that should be supported by the government,” he said.
Ms Bensted said Monarto Zoo was chosen based on their expertise and space, with 500 hectres in Wild Africa for the Rhinos to be held.
The safari enclosure, Wild Africa, is in construction stages and should see the arrival of two adult female Rhinos and one young later this year.