Rhinos are the new pandas at Edinburgh Zoo this weekend, with the high profile arrival of Qabid, a young greater one-horned Rhinoceros – but don’t all rush to see him.
Viewing will be restricted for the next couple of days as the two and a half year-old male (about half the size of a fully grown adult) settles into his home.
He arrived after an overnight journey from Planchendael Zoo in Belgium, and after a 600-mile journey across Europe was lowered into his new abode by crane.
Now he’ll be well looked after by expert keepers said to play a vital role in the conservation breeding programme for the species, taking care of teenage rhinos when they are ready to leave their mothers but are still too young to be paired with a mate.
Karen Stiven, senior keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said: “We are very excited to welcome Qabid into our care and it’s great to see him settling in and exploring his new surroundings after his 600 mile journey from Belgium.
“We have a long history of rhino conservation at Edinburgh Zoo and an important role to play in the European breeding programme. In the wild, young male rhinos leave their mothers at around Qabid’s age and become solitary until they are old enough to breed.
“In the past we have raised two pairs of bachelor rhinos. Baabuu and Fanindra left in 2010 to be paired with females and have both successfully reproduced in the years since. We’re anticipating the same success for Samir who left in 2016 and Bertus who left earlier this year.
“We hope Qabid will be joined by another juvenile rhino soon and that they’ll follow in the footsteps of their predecessors when they are fully grown.”
Rhino species across the world are under increasing threat of extinction as a result of poaching and habitat loss
Greater one-horned rhinos are currently classed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.