Five year old Emma, a southern white rhino, was originally scheduled to travel from Taiwan's Leofoo Safari Park to Japan's Saitama Tobu Zoo in March, but the pandemic caused a delay in her travel plans. She finally arrived at the Saitama zoo on June 8th.
Emma was chosen from Leofoo's herd of white rhinos because she has an "even temper and slender physique." According to Sean Wu, the Leofoo Safari Park's chief veterinarian, Emma was chosen because her mild personality and her smaller size made it easier to make the overseas move. Dr. Wu said "she seldom gets in fights with other rhinos or snatches others' food."
She is currently busy getting acquainted with her first suitor, 10 year old Moran. Zoo breeding programs have played a key role in repopulating southern white rhino herds. According to the conservation group Save the Rhino, there are currently about 19,000 southern white rhinos in the wild in southern Africa. They were nearly wiped out in the last century but thanks to conservation efforts have managed to recover. The northern white rhino are functionally extinct, with only two female remaining. Leofoo Safari Park imported eight rhinos from Africa in 1979 and now has the most successful breeding program in Asia, with 23 in its herd.
Emma is kind of cute, for a rhino, don't you think?