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Press Blog

New Indian Rhino Area to Open

On Friday morning visitors to Fota Wildlife Park in Co Cork will get a chance to meet its newest resident Jamil an Indian Rhino as they open the gates to phase two of its Asian Sanctuary development.

The male named Jamil arrived from Whipsnade Zoo in the UK at the end of June and will be joined by two additional rhinos in the Autumn. Speaking about the arrival lead warden Aidan Rafferty said “we are all very excited about Jamils arrival, he is such an amazing animal and already weighs over a tone despite being a 2 1/2 year old”. 

The new arrival is also adjusting to his new €1m euro home at the beginning of the Asian Sanctuary which is equipped with an indoor pool for him to bath in every evening. “He has settled in very well to the park, especially inside the house as he seems to love his pool and we are now getting him used to the outside area” said Mr Rafferty.

The male who will grow to an excess of 2 tonne by the age of 7 is part of the Indian Rhino family who are unique in that they have just one horn and are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The skin of the Indian rhinoceros is a highly distinctive characteristic, possessing body like armour which in many ways looks very prehistoric.

The Indian rhinoceros is also referred to as the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros, weighing up to 2200 kg (4800 lb.) and can be found grazing in the flood plain areas of Northern India and Nepal.  An Indian Rhinos diet Includes leaves, fruit, and crops as well as a variety of aquatic plants which they may encounter while swimming.

Rhinoceroses are the largest land mammals after the elephant and are made up of five species, two African and three Asian. The African species include both the white and black rhinoceroses with both species possessing two horns. Asian rhinos include the Indian (or great one-horned rhinoceros) and the Javan, each with one horn, and the Sumatran, which has two. 

In recent years, rhino numbers have declined due to poaching for their horn which is prized in Asian countries but also face threats from habitat loss and political conflict. Throughout history, Rhino horn has been used in folk medicine for its supposed healing properties, consequently rhinos worldwide are now facing extinction. Their horns are sometimes sold as trophies or decorations, but more often they are ground up and used in traditional Chinese medicine.

On Friday morning visitors to Fota Wildlife Park will be able to see the Rhino for themselves as they wall through phase 2 of the Asian Sanctuary which also includes a 50m raised walkway that takes you over the rhino area and gives you views directly onto a new gibbon island.