Najin and Suni Get Some Company
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The endangered species enclosure which is home to the northern white rhinos on Ol Pejeta, is divided into two:
- A 100-acre (give or take a few) boma that is currently home to Najin and Suni
- And a 600-acre boma currently home to Sudan, Fatu, six southern white rhinos, two black rhinos and numerous Grevy’s zebras and Jackson’s hartebeest (kongoni).
During the last northern white rhino committee meeting held in January 2012 it was decided to move Suni and Najin out into the big boma and move Sudan and Fatu into the smaller boma.
The northern white rhino committee, a team of professionals dedicated to bringing the species back from the brink of extinction, believes this move will increase the rhino’s chances of breeding naturally. However before the move, Suni and Najin got two new companions – female southern white rhinos. This was meant to help Najin form a bond with the southern white rhinos so that when they move out into the big boma she does not hide out in the bushes by herself.
Tauwa, a six year old southern white, was the first to be moved on February 23rd. She was darted, led into a crate and moved using our translocation truck, Ella, to the smaller boma. She was first kept in an adjacent holding boma for observation while the effects of the tranquilizer wore off. Afterwards she was released to join Najin while Suni was kept in a separate boma for two days. This was to ensure Suni did not try to get close to her while the anesthesia was still in her system. Though the plan was to have Tauwa bond with Najin our team realized after a few days that she seemed anxious. They decided to move in a second southern white female from the big boma.
Four and a half year old Mojo was moved two weeks later on March 8th and joined the group of three rhinos already in the small boma. She was moved in the same manner as Tauwa.
On Friday March 27th, just two weeks after their new companions arrived, Najin and Suni became really interested in each other. The courtship ritual involved Suni smelling Najin’s rump to determine her pheromone levels and both of them grunting and chasing each other around. This lasted close to 12 hours and we even caught it on video!
Could the introduction of two extra females have excited Suni and made him want to mate? Or could the presence of other females have regulated Najin’s cycling period? Whatever the case we’re happy our northern white rhinos are in the mating mood!
We hope the interest continues and results in successful mating opportunities for our northern whites. We will keep you updated on the planned move and any further developments.
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