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Rhinos to rumble into Grampians

NEW TO THE ZOO: A pair of southern white rhinoceros, like the one pictured above, will soon become part of the Halls Gap Zoo family.

By DEAN LAWSON

A pair of threatened southern white rhinoceros are set to find a new home in the Wimmera with the region earmarked to play a role in the preservation of the species.

Halls Gap Zoo, already heavily involved in several national and international species-protection projects, hopes to take charge of a pair of bulls from New Zealand by the end of next year.

The plans also involve introducing calves in the next few years with an ultimate aim of producing off-spring for release back into the wild in Africa.

But zoo operator Greg Culell said momentum would depend on how quickly he could raise the $150,000 needed to cover project quarantine, permit and infrastructure costs.

He said he was in the process of exploring various money-raising ventures but was also offering the region an opportunity to take ownership of a unique and historically significant project.

“We’re basically opening the opportunity for organisations, businesses, individuals, everyone to help get this up and running,” he said.

“It might from donations, in-kind support or something else.

“We’re certainly open to all suggestions and discussions. We need to build a quarantine facility and night yards, pay for costly permits and buy  concrete and steel. Transport costs alone are about $25,000 per animal.”

Passion

Mr Culell stressed that the zoo’s endangered-species work was more about a passion than making money for his business.

“It’s a global responsibility and a part that reputable zoos around the world must play in helping to preserve species,” he said.

“The truth is that the endangered-species work soaks up  the profits we make. If we were doing this for money, we would have been out of it long ago.

“We understand we’re asking people to give us something but it is a chance to be involved in something really worthwhile. We’ll bust heaven and earth to make it happen but we have to wait until we have the money.”

Mr Culell said southern white rhinos, despite being the most abundant of rhino sub-species, were under increasing pressure from poachers in their natural habitat.

 

  • Get the full story in the December 23, 2014 edition of The Weekly Advertiser.
    READ IT ONLINE HERE!

Short URL: http://www.theweeklyadvertiser.com.au/?p=24183

Posted on Dec 23 2014

Posted by on Dec 23 2014. Filed under News, Tourism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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