DE
01.10.15

Naming of baby rhino: Puri

More than 480 name suggestions were submitted by Hellabrunn fans. Six names were shortlisted and over 1,700 people voted. With a majority of 501 votes, the name Puri was selected as the winner.

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Sebastian Widmann

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Sebastian Widmann

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Sebastian Widmann

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Sebastian Widmann

Puri, the baby rhinoceros bull, was born in Hellabrunn Zoo at 9:01 am on 31 August after a gestation period of 492 days. He is the first successful birth for mama Rapti. Her two previous births were fraught with complications: In September 2012, after a 16-month gestation period, Rapti gave birth to a male calf, but he died three days later of an infection probably contracted in the womb. Despite a detailed pathological examination, the exact cause of death could not be determined. And ten years ago, during her very first pregnancy she suffered a stillbirth. In general, the chances of survival for first-born rhinos are quite slim, both in zoos and in the wild.

Even with Puri it was touch and go after birth: Three days after he was born, Puri suddenly appeared to be in a weakened state. As a result, a decision was taken by the zoo’s veterinarians, curators and management to keep mother and child away from the public for a little longer and initiate intensive treatment. The newborn calf was soon back on his feet and eventually given the all-clear. The cause of the infection was probably accidentally torn by Rapti umbilical rest of the young animal. The newborn calf was soon back on his feet and was eventually given the all-clear. The infection discovered was probably caused by the calf's residual of the umbilical cord accidentally torn by Rapti.

"We are glad that the young calf has survived the critical phase and can now be seen by our visitors," says zoo director Rasem Baban, delighted with the success of the zoo’s breeding programme. There are currently just under 3,000 Indian rhinoceroses left on the planet, of which just over 200 live in zoos. It is thus all the more important to maintain conservation breeding programmes in zoos. There are only five zoos in Germany that keep Indian rhinoceroses. Rapti, who was born in Nepal, is therefore particularly important for the gene pool of Indian rhinoceroses living in zoos. Her genes have now been successfully passed on to the newborn bull.

"Little Puri is an ambassador for his threatened relatives in Asia and Africa," says zoo director Rasem Baban, underlining one of the important tasks for the Indian rhinoceros calf. In addition to habitat loss, the rhino population has been brought to close extinction by hunting, primarily for their horn. The rhino horn - in the powdered form - is highly valued in traditional Asian medicine, even though it has no proven medical benefit, since the horn mostly consists of keratin, which is also found in human fingernails and hair as well as cow horn. "Even if the threat of hunting is mainly in Asia, it is important to educate and make people here aware of the problem," adds Baban.

Puri’s enclosure is open to visitors between 10:00 am - 5:00 pm daily. In good weather, he can be seen roaming around in his outdoor enclosure, enjoying the autumn sunshine and playing with his mother. The zoo also presents Rhino Talk at 11:20 am daily (until 31 October), which invites visitors to learn more about rhinos in general, with an emphasis on the newborn baby rhino at Hellabrunn Zoo.

Zoo director Rasem Baban also announced the winner of the baby rhino painting competition. Over 60 children submitted fantastic artworks on the birth of young calf. The winner will be invited on a personal rendezvous to get up close to mama Rapti.