Monica, a 2-year-old Indian rhinoceros at the Buffalo Zoo whose birth here was heralded as a scientific achievement, is leaving for San Diego by the end of the month.
Monica was born to Tashi, via artificial insemination on June 5, 2014. Zoo officials used frozen DNA from her father, Jimmy, who died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 2004. Monica was the first offspring for a male rhino who never contributed to the genetics of the Indian rhino population during his lifetime.
Monica is also the only surviving Indian rhino born via artificial insemination, Buffalo Zoo officials said.
The move to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park follows a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the zoo announced Thursday. It's part of the international organization's Species Survival Plan, the goal of which is to ensure the survival of selected species, including threatened and endangered species, in zoos and aquariums.
“Monica’s birth here at the Buffalo Zoo was a major victory for endangered species and rhinos around the world," said Zoo President Donna Fernandes. “Monica has a good chance of becoming a successful mother to many rhinos, and contributing to the survival of this important species."
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park houses the largest group of Indian rhinos in captivity, and the most successful managed-care breeding program for rhinos anywhere in the world.
Monica will be on exhibit until she leaves Buffalo by the end of the month.
The Indian Rhino is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and is the largest of all rhino species.
It is also a conservation success story. At the start of the 20th century, there were fewer than 200 Indian rhinos in the wild. Thanks to strict protection from Indian and Nepalese wildlife authorities, that number has increased to more than 3,500.