Fota Wildlife Park announces name of Indian rhino calf following public competition

Fota made history in September as the first ever baby Indian rhino ever to be born in Ireland was born at the wildlife park. 
Fota Wildlife Park announces name of Indian rhino calf following public competition

Fota Wildlife Park has announced the name of its ten-week old Indian rhino calf, the only Indian rhino ever to be born in Ireland, after a public competition to suggest a name. The winning suggestion is Jai – an apt moniker meaning victory or triumph. Image Credit: Sinead Donnachie, Fota Wildlife Park

Fota Wildlife Park has announced the name of its ten-week old Indian rhino calf, the only Indian rhino ever to be born in Ireland, after a public competition to suggest a name.

The winning suggestion is Jai – an apt moniker meaning victory or triumph.

Jai is one of only six Indian rhino births in any zoological institution in the world this year. He was born on September 19, after a gestation period of 16 months, to mother, Maya and father, Jamil.

Ten-year-old Maya came to Fota Wildlife Park from the French Zoo, the Botanical Garden Branfér in Nantes in early 2020, as recommended by the ex-situ European Endangered Breeding Programme (EEP) for Indian rhino to breed with the male, Jamil, at Fota Wildlife Park.

Jamil, who is nine years old, was born in ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in the UK and came to Fota in June 2015. Both rhinos weigh approximately two tonnes each.

Jai, who weighed 60 kilos at birth, now weighs over 165 kilos.

“We are absolutely delighted to see how Jai is thriving,” lead ranger at Fota, Aidan Rafferty said.

Fota Wildlife Park announced the name of the ten-week-old Indian rhino calf, as Jai, which means victory or triumph, after a public competition to suggest a name. Jai is the only Indian rhino birth in Ireland ever and is one of only six Indian rhino births in any zoological institution in the world this year. He was born on September 19, after a gestation period of 16 months, to mother, Maya and father, Jamil. Image credit: Sinead Donnachie, Fota Wildlife Park
Fota Wildlife Park announced the name of the ten-week-old Indian rhino calf, as Jai, which means victory or triumph, after a public competition to suggest a name. Jai is the only Indian rhino birth in Ireland ever and is one of only six Indian rhino births in any zoological institution in the world this year. He was born on September 19, after a gestation period of 16 months, to mother, Maya and father, Jamil. Image credit: Sinead Donnachie, Fota Wildlife Park

“Currently he’s feeding from his mother Maya but he’s also starting to pick at some grass and hay.

“A healthy rhino calf will put on about one to two kilos a day in weight at this stage of their lives.

“He’s a very lively and inquisitive calf.

“Visitors can usually get an opportunity to see him in the afternoons when he’s outside in his paddock with his mother, generally running about and playing!” 

Fota received nearly 1,000 name suggestions over the last few weeks for the new calf.

“After much consideration, we settled on Jai.

“The name really suits him, and he really is a triumph and victory for breeding success here at Fota, for the species conservation work we do and raising awareness about the loss of biodiversity worldwide,” Mr Rafferty said.

The name Jai was suggested by Cliodhna Kellegher from County Leitrim, who wins a year-long Conservation Pass to Fota Wildlife Park.

There are now four Indian rhino at Fota Wildlife Park, Maya, Jamil, Jai, and a non-breeding male, Shusto.

The Indian rhino is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with 3,300 living in the wild.

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