Fota Wildlife Park have announced the name of the ten-week-old Indian rhino calf, as Jai, which means victory or triumph, after a public competition to suggest a name.
Jai is the only Indian rhino birth in Ireland ever and is one of only six Indian rhino births in any zoological institution in the world this year. He was born on the 19th of September 2022, after a gestation period of 16 months, to mother, Maya and father, Jamil.
The Indian rhino is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with 3300 living in the wild. The illegal trade of poaching rhino horn for traditional medicine poses the biggest threat to the species.
Ten-year-old Maya came to Fota Wildlife Park from the French Zoo, the Botanical Garden Branfér, Nantes in early 2020, as recommended by the ex-situ European Endangered Breeding Programme (EEP) for Indian rhino to breed with the male Indian rhino, Jamil, at Fota Wildlife Park. Jamil, who is nine years old, was born in ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in the UK and came to Fota in June 2015.
Both rhinos weigh approximately two tonnes each. Jai, who weighed 60 kilos at birth now weighs over 165 kilos.
Lead Ranger, Aidan Rafferty said “We are absolutely delighted to see how Jai is thriving. Currently he’s feeding from his mother Maya but he’s also starting to pick at some grass and hay. A healthy rhino calf will put on about one to two kilos a day in weight at this stage of their lives. He’s a very lively and inquisitive calf. Visitors can usually get on opportunity to see him in the afternoons when he’s outside in his paddock with his mother, generally running about and playing!
“There has been a great reaction from the public and visitors to news of his birth, and we received nearly one thousand name suggestions over the last few weeks. After much consideration we settled on Jai. The name really suits him, and he really is a triumph and victory for breeding success here at Fota, for the species conservation work we do and raising awareness about the loss of biodiversity worldwide.”
The name Jai was suggested by Cliodhna Kellegher from County Leitrim, who wins a year-long Conservation Pass to Fota Wildlife Park.There are now four Indian rhino at Fota Wildlife Park, Maya, Jamil, Jai, and a non-breeding male, Shusto.
Rhinoceroses are the largest land mammals after the elephant and are made up of five species, two African and three Asian. The Indian rhino is the largest rhino species and is also known as the greater one-horned rhino.
Fota Wildlife Park is open daily from 10 am, closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and St. Stephen’s Day. Fota Wildlife Park offers a range of unique gift ideas, such as digital gift vouchers, annual passes and animals species sponsorship, including for the Indian rhino, see www.fotawildlife.ie for more details.