Audubon Zoo welcomes 2-ton White Rhino - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Audubon Zoo welcomes 2-ton White Rhino

Bonnie, the 2-ton White Rhino, makes herself at home in her new digs. (Source: Audubon Zoo) Bonnie, the 2-ton White Rhino, makes herself at home in her new digs. (Source: Audubon Zoo)

It is a heavyweight matchup that has a lot of people talking, at least at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.

The zoo recently added Bonnie, a 15-year-old Southern White Rhino, to its collection. The zoo wants to hook her up with Saba, Audubon's only male rhino.

"The hope is she will breed with our male Saba and produce much needed new blood into the captive rhino population," said Audubon Zoo Curator of Hoofstock, Bill Smith.

The 4,200-pound rhino was brought in near the end of April. She has spent several weeks adjusting do the new surroundings. Bonnie was born in West Palm Beach, FL.

The zoo has two other female rhinos, Yvonne and Macite. At 51, Macite is the world's oldest rhino in captivity. Macite was brought to Audubon in 1998 as part of a similar strategy to stimulate breeding between Saba and Yvonne. Yvonne had a baby in 2003.

"All five species are critically endangered due to the false belief that their horn contains medicinal powers. In fact, their horns are made of Keratin, the same substance that makes up human hair and fingernails. If the levels of poaching for rhinos continue to rise at the current pace, there could be no wild rhinos for our grandchildren to enjoy," Smith said.

Rhino horn is sold to Asian countries for use in traditional medicine, and to Middle Eastern countries, which consider the horn a prized material used to make handles for ceremonial daggers known as jamiyas.

Bonnie will soon inhabit the African Savanna exhibit in Audubon Zoo located at 6500 Magazine Street. For more information, visit auduboninstitute.org.

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