New male rhino is looking for love
It's the rhino equivalent of online dating, as the Park's keepers get ready to set up their Southern white rhino female, Makusi, with a new romantic date this Valentine's Day.
Otto, her prospective suitor, is an 18-year-old visiting male rhino to the Park and keepers are pinning their hopes on it being a 'love match' as part of the European Endangered species Programme (EEP). Otto arrived on loan from Colchester Zoo, via a specialist animal transport company and two industrial sized cranes helped him move in.
Keepers at the Park are delighted by the arrival of Otto as exisiting male rhino resident Kai has so far been unable to impress the female rhino residents or produce any offspring.
In a bid to spice up the rhino romance at the Park, Essex boy Otto was chosen for his reputation as a love heavy-weight. Weighing in at 3.5 tonnes of pure Romeo, Otto has a track record for being a ladies man and leaving behind a string of rhino calves as evidence of his past 'romantic' liaisons.
Woburn's matchmaker keepers hope that the arrival of Otto will also spark some competition with Kai, urging him to step out of the 'friend zone' with the female rhinos and grab some of the attention for himself.
Kai has been seen getting territorial since the arrival of Otto , with lots of male swaggering and urine-spraying to mark his territory, as he deals with his jealousy issues. However, Makusi and the other females Mtubatuba and Mirijam, have so far been quite aloof with Otto.
Chris Smart, Team Leader in Reserves, said: "We are delighted to welcome Otto, the Southern white rhino, to the herd living at the Park. His arrival is really important for the conservation of these majestic animals and we're really excited to see him settle in alongside the females. We are all hoping that the girls are receptive to his advances and his time at the Park results in successful breeding."