Rhinos at San Diego Zoo Safari Park explore new exhibit

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Six southern white rhinos brought to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park last fall explored their 3.5-acre habitat for the first time Thursday.

The rhinos came over from private reserves in South Africa in November in an attempt to save their endangered species, and that of their near-extinct northern white rhino cousins.

The female rhinos, between 4 and 7 years old, had been kept in off- exhibit yards so they could get acclimated to the move and their handlers.

The animals are being trained by their animal keepers to receive any needed medical procedures.

With just three northern white rhinos left in the world, San Diego Zoo Global officials and scientists are hoping that modern techniques will help them use stored DNA to create embryos to implant in the southern species, which would serve as surrogate mothers.

Scientists are optimistic that a northern white rhino calf could be born by using DNA within 10 to 15 years, according to the San Diego Zoo.

None of the three remaining northern white rhinos — all at a preserve in South Africa — are reproductive.

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