A NEW rhino, weighing almost two tonnes, has arrived in Fota Wildlife Park.
The seven-year-old, called Maya, arrived last month and was born in Rotterdam Zoo. She is an Indian Rhino and came from Botanical Garden Branféré in Nantes.
She is the only female Indian Rhino in Ireland and Fota management is now hoping to breed her with male Indian Rhino Jamil, who is already resident at Fota, as part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme.
"In practical terms we hope that this pair will get on very well together," Lead ranger at Fota, Aidan Rafferty, said. "So far the signs are good - while they have not been introduced to each other directly -they can see and smell each other across their neighbouring paddocks and they both seem to have a very healthy interest in each other.”
He added: "Looking after and introducing a potential breeding pair - such as these Indian Rhino - is a very specialised process. They both will be allowed to get to know each other from a very safe distance and depending on how well that is going we then plan to move the pair closer together and we hope they will produce a baby rhino in the next few years as the eventual outcome.”