Puri the Indian rhino’s important mission
Not many people know that Hellabrunn’s little Indian rhinoceros, Puri, is a true rarity: he is the first offspring of mum Rapti and is considered particularly valuable genetically, because his mother originally comes from a national park in Nepal. And so, despite his young age, the little Puri has an important mission in mind – to produce many offspring some day.
Little Puri still has a long way to go until then, but he will soon begin the first phase of his transformation from juvenile to breeding bull:
Puri is expected to move to Amersfoort Zoo in the Netherlands in the near future on the recommendation of Basel Zoo, which coordinates the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) and the International Studbook (ISB) for Indian rhinoceros. There he will live together with Thanos, a bull of approximately the same age from Tierpark Berlin, for the next few years before he is finally paired with a female rhino. "It’s still to be decided at which zoo and with which female Puri will be coupled with in a few years’ time. However, we hope that he will produce many healthy offspring," says zoo director Rasem Baban.
Puri was born on 31 August 2015 and now tips the scales at a whopping 900 kg. For the past few days he has been undergoing “crate training" with his keepers in order to get used to his large transport crate and overcome any fear.
Until his departure - he will be accompanied on the journey to his new home by one of his most trusted keepers - Puri will remain with his parents Rapti and Niko on view for visitors in the Rhino House and its outdoor enclosure, daily from 9 am to 5 pm. And for all those Puri fans who would like to look back at first his two years at Hellabrunn, the rhino diary is once again available online. Rhino lovers will find exciting stories and great pictures of Puri and his mum Rapti at www.hellabrunn.de/nashorntagebuch.
Hellabrunn Zoo is a member of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for the conservation of Asian rhinoceros species. There are currently only about 2,750 rhinoceroses surviving in the wild, comprising small groups living in separate wildlife sanctuaries. In addition to habitat loss, the rhino population has been pushed to the brink of extinction by hunting. 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. This makes conservation breeding in zoos all the more important. There are only five zoos in Germany that keep Indian rhinoceroses. Since Rapti was born in Asia and originally came from Chitwan National Park in Nepal, both mother and son are particularly important for the gene pool of Indian rhinoceroses living in zoos.
About the Indian rhinoceroses at Hellabrunn Zoo
The rhinoceroses Niko and Rapti have known each other since 1990. Then, Rapti, born in August 1989, made the journey from her native Nepal to Munich. Niko (born 27.11.1988) arrived at Hellabrunn from Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart shortly after.
General information about Indian Rhinoceros
With a shoulder height of up to 185 cm and weighing more than 2,000 kg, the Indian rhinoceros is the largest of the three species of Asian rhinoceroses. Unlike its two African relatives and the Sumatran rhinoceros, it has only one nasal horn (similar to the Javan rhinoceros), which can grow up to 20 cm long. Indian rhinoceroses tend to rub their horn on the ground or rocks, often resulting in the horn being worn down to a thick knob.
Today its natural habitat is confined to a few areas in Bhutan, southern Nepal, the Terai Arc Landscape and seven refuges in the two Indian states of West Bengal and Assam.