LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. — Starting Tuesday, Lion Country will join a nationwide rhino research project called the American Institute of Rhino Science (AIRS) program.
“The purpose of this research program is to make recommendations on how we can approach Rhino care for the long-term survival of the species and the self-sustaining reproduction of the species,” spokeswoman Haley said. McCann.
In the near future, some rhinos will wear fitness trackers.
TA Walker wakes up to the Lion Country Safari rhinos
“They’ll wear fitness trackers or activity trackers to track how active they are, how they’re using their space, and how that contributes to their overall health,” McCann said.
The rhinos will track whether they “make their way” and “close their rings” or not.
“The fitness tracker’s strap is actually loose. So if it gets caught in anything, it’ll break right away. And we’ll also go through a desensitization stage where the rhinos will get used to feeling that strap on their ankle.and won’t really let them out in the [safari] until they’re comfortable wearing it,” McCann said.
“We’ll see how many of their days are spent actively moving around and grazing, how far they go, how much space they use to walk around and their daily life and use that kind of information to see how it contributes to overall health. and how that contributes to their physical condition, height, weight and how that plays into reproduction,” McCann said.
Lion Country Safari has 15 southern white rhinos. The youngest, Josh, is less than a year old, and the oldest is Buck (he’s alone on an island so the ladies won’t beat him).
READ MORE: Meet Buck, the world’s oldest African white rhino
Lion Land Safari Fun Facts
- The AIRS program aims to address the challenges facing rhino management to ensure healthy populations under human care that can act as a safety net against extinction.
- The program is multidisciplinary to address the main pillars of research, including fitness and reproduction.
- To identify the health metrics most closely related to fitness, activity trackers and heart rate recordings will be compared to physical assessments and blood tests. The objective is also to identify factors that may contribute to the decline in physical health and reproductive success for the long-term survival of the species.
- Lion Country Safari begins tomorrow July 12 research into reproductive monitoring using blood and faecal tests.
- Lion Country Safari will also participate in physical assessments, temperament, breeding and health surveys etc.
- There are five species of rhinoceros, white and black, endemic to Africa, and three species originating from Asia (Java, Sumatra and Indian rhinoceros).
- Lion Country Safari has had 38 rhinos born in the park since the late 1970s.
- Southern white rhinos are the most abundant rhino species but all are threatened and in decline due to poaching.