White rhinos charge into Australia

White rhinos charge into Australia

Three white rhinos from Germany, New Zealand and Queensland have completed quarantine at Altina Wildlife Park, near Griffith in NSW.

They followed Australia’s strict biosecurity requirements, in place to keep out exotic diseases

After a long ‘weight’ and some heavy lifting, biosecurity officers have given the all-clear to three newly arrived Southern White Rhinos at Altina Wildlife Park, near Griffith in NSW.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, welcomed the portly perissodactyls and highlighted the important biosecurity work that goes on behind the scenes when exotic animals enter the country.

“The successful importation was the result of several months of meticulous work and co-ordination between zoo officials and biosecurity officers,” Minister Joyce said.

“Moving three rhinos came with its own set of logistical challenges, requiring a crane to lower them onto a semi-trailer in purpose-built steel crates. I’m glad I didn’t have to throw them out in the yards myself.

“Mtoto and Tatu were brought in from New Zealand and Germany respectively, while Mango was transported from Australia Zoo in Queensland. They have been kept in quarantine together and are already bonding.

“White rhinos can carry diseases like bovine tuberculosis, rabies and foot and mouth disease, all of which could spread to other species and cause devastating economic and social damage to Australia, and could lead to restrictions on international trade.

“Biosecurity officers are well aware of the risks, so work closely with exporting country authorities and importing zoo officials, test for threatening diseases and monitor the animals in quarantine.

Federal Member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, today welcomed the White Rhinos at the official opening of the exhibit.

“Mtoto, Tatu and Mango completed their 30 day quarantine period on Friday 14 October, and visitors are now able to see them settling into their new enclosure. I hear from tour operators at the Wildlife Park that the afternoon tour is already sold out thanks to the popularity of the new arrivals,” Ms Ley said. 

“It is wonderful to now have Mtoto, Tatu and Mango here, calling the Altina Wildlife Park home, as part of an ongoing breeding program and conservation of the species.

“Sunday’s launch is also an excellent example of our biosecurity system in action—allowing Australians to see these fascinating animals up close, while keeping threatening diseases at bay.”

The Altina Wildlife Park, at Darlington Point near Griffith in NSW, conducts morning and afternoon tours of up to 90 people each day at 9.30am and 7.00pm respectively.

To book a tour please call the Altina Wildlife Park on: 0412 060 342.

FAST FACTS

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) in 2013 estimated an outbreak of foot and mouth disease could cost the Australian economy up to $52.2 billion over 10 years.