Here at Water Gallery we are always interested in news stories about the natural world, which of course includes the animal kingdom. Some stories break our hearts, like this one about a bison calf who had to be put down because a human took it out of its natural habitat, or this one about a dolphin who perished after greedy tourists sacrificed its life to take "selfies" with it. And others warm our hearts, like this one about opportunities to swim with rescued sea otters in order to help kids, or this one about the hatching of a baby eaglet. We are drawn to all stories about animals and nature, but it often seems like it's the sad stories that get the most press. It's hugely important to spread the word about the tough stories-- only when we are informed can we enact change. But sometimes you just need to hear about something good! It's stories like this one that give us hope about the state of our natural world.
We were very excited to read an article today about the birth of a southern white rhino at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida. This species has long been on the endangered list, threatened due to habitat loss and continuous poaching for their horns (used for commercial purchases and some traditional Chinese medicines). Although of course in an ideal world, all animals would run free in their natural habitats. But because many species are endangered, sometimes it's crucial that they are brought into (often temporary) captivity in order to help the species grow. Wild-caught rhinos will readily procreate in captivity, so hearing about a responsible zoo facilitating the healthy birth of one of these creatures is a wonderful thing. World Rhino Day was on September 22nd, so the baby's September 12th birth was right on time. And one fun fact that we learned from reading this article today is that the baby currently weighs around 100 pounds and could eventually reach up to 4,500 pounds!
Although this rhino's birth is great news for the species, it still doesn't minimize the fact that if poachers continue to hunt these majestic animals for their horns the rate at which they are right now, the white rhino could be completely extinct in 15 years. We are happy to hear that the Lowry Park Zoo is working to educate and raise awareness about these incredible animals and the real dangers that face them.