Virginia Zoo welcomes two endangered white rhinos from Singapore

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Bora Bora checks out her new surroundings in her stall at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk
Bora Bora checks out her new surroundings in her stall. (Photo courtesy of the Virginia Zoo)

NORFOLK — White rhinoceroses have seen a heavy decrease in its population in recent years as poachers continue to hunt them, but two have found a new home in Norfolk.

The Virginia Zoo welcomed two female white rhinos, Bora Bora and Zina, this week to live in its Africa Okavango Delta section.

“We are so excited to welcome these beautiful young rhinos whose gene pool is new to the United States,” said Greg Bockheim, executive director of the Virginia Zoo.

“With less than 20,000 white rhinos left in the wild, Bora and Zina will contribute greatly to the future of their species,” Bockeim added.

Zoogoers can see the rhinos after a 30-day quarantine period while staff monitors their heath, according to a news release.

The pair flew from Singapore to New York over the weekend with Virginia Zoo veterinarian Dr. Colleen Clabbers and Singapore Zoo’s zoo keeper Hikmat Siliwangi bin Mansuri. After landing in the United States, they were driven to Virginia.

The animals were loaded onto a climate-controlled semitrailer and driven to Norfolk, Virginia, to their new home at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk.
The animals were loaded onto a climate-controlled semitrailer and driven to Norfolk, Virginia, to their new home at the Virginia Zoo. (Photo courtesy of the Virginia Zoo)

When they arrived in Norfolk, an exam showed that both rhinos appear to be in good health, according to the release.

“The team at the Singapore Zoo did a tremendous job with prepping Bora and Zina for travel and their journey proceeded without any issues,” Clabbers said. “Now that they are settled into their new home, we will be monitoring them closely to make sure they are eating well and adjusting to their new surroundings.”

Bora Bora and Zina were born in 2013 at the Singapore Zoo. Their names are inspired by languages in different countries. Bora Bora translates to “snow” in Albanian, while Zina means “secret spirit” in areas of Africa.

These rhinos will also contribute to increasing their population through the species survival program, which will pair a male white rhino with them at the Virginia Zoo later this year, according to the release.

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