Australia Zoo's rhino calf.
Australia Zoo's rhino calf. Courtest of Australia Zoo

And the baby rhino's name is...

QUEENSLAND'S first baby southern white rhinoceros - born at Australia Zoo on April 11 at 3.15am - has been officially named, Savannah.

The chance to name Australia Zoo’s newest arrival was auctioned through internet site eBay, with Sunshine Coast Hinterland locals and Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Joey Ambassadors, Ailish Bolt, 7, and Ash Ogilvie, 15, buying the unique opportunity with the help of Cate Bolt.

After winning the auction, the trio put forward five suggested names, from which Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin chose the name Savannah.

“We’ve always been very passionate about conservation. We try and do as much as we can to help in different conservation projects, and the opportunity to name a rhino doesn’t come around very often,” said Cate.

Among the first to meet the recent arrival, Cate, Ash and Ailish got hands-on, giving Savannah a mud bath.

“It was the most amazing thing I have ever done,” said Cate.

“It felt great to be able to meet a rhino,” said Ash.

Now four weeks old, the newest addition to Australia Zoo’s rhino herd is doing well, and keeping mum and keepers busy.

“Savannah is doing great. She is running around and annoying mum, but she’s really healthy so we couldn’t be happier,” said Australia Zoo Africa keeper, Ryan Lunnie.

“Caballe is doing really well too. She is a protective mum, but lets her guard down now and then and we can get in close and give Savannah pats and rub mud on her which is great.”

Happy with the calf’s official name, Ryan also expressed his appreciation that Cate, Ash and Ailish could help Australia Zoo’s conservation projects.

“The money raised will be a great contribution to the African conservation projects that Australia Zoo supports, so we’re really happy about that,” said Ryan.

Active conservationists, Cate, Ash and Ailish took the unique opportunity to encourage other people to do everything they can to save wildlife.

“Anyone can help – just look at organisations and what they are doing, and help in anyway you can,” said Ash.

“Until people stop buying wildlife products, poachers are going to continue to kill these animals. Our time is limited; if we don’t work on this now it is going to be too late,” said Cate.

The naming comes as Australia Zoo continues to work toward completing their African Safari experience in time for the school holiday period in September.

“Australia Zoo is very excited to offer the public the chance to meet Savannah when our Africa exhibit opens in time for the September School Holidays!” said Ryan.

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