Like many of us, Emma’s travel plans have been spoiled by the coronavirus. But after months of delay, the white rhinoceros has come to Japan and is looking for love. The five-year-old arrives on her way to Liafu Safari Park in Taiwan, where she beats a bunch of competitors for a chance to find a mate and breed.
She was scheduled to be transferred to the Saitama Tobu Zoo outside Tokyo in March, but complications caused by the pandemic pushed back her departure. They slowly opened the shipping container that had been placed in front of her sleeping room. Emma, without any shame, went straight to the sleeping room.
Rhino used the extra time in Taiwan to prepare for the move, with the keepers using Japanese words such as ‘come’ and ‘no’ to prepare her for her new home. Safari staff said that she was selected from a herd of 23 rhinos because of her even temperament and slim body. Emma was chosen because of her gentle personality and her small size also makes it easy to ship overseas.
She rarely fights with other rhinos or snatches food from others. She’s expected to be on show to the public in Japan for several weeks, but she also has more serious business to do with getting to indulge with her first boyfriend: 10-year-old Moran.
The zoo’s breeding programs have played an important role in re-settling the herd of southern white rhinos. The species currently number about 19,000, according to the conservation group Save the Rhino, which is found in the wild throughout southern Africa.
Liofu Safari Park imported eight rhinos from Africa in 1979 and now has the most successful breeding program in Asia, with 23 animals in herds. Horns are made of nothing more than keratin, a material similar to nails and hair. But scammers mistakenly sell horns as an aphrodisiac or a cancer treatment.