The name means ‘victory’ or ‘triumph’.
And the fact that Fota Wildlife Park’s ten-week-old Indian rhino calf ‘Jai’ is here at all is a victory and a triumph indeed.
Jai is the only Indian rhino birth in Ireland ever and is one of only six Indian rhino births in any zoological institution in the world this year. He was born on September 19th, 2022, after a gestation period of 16 months, to mother, Maya and father, Jamil.
The Indian rhino is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with 3300 living in the wild. The illegal trade of poaching rhino horn for traditional medicine poses the biggest threat to the species.
Jai, who weighed 60 kilos at birth now weighs over 165 kilos.
“We are absolutely delighted to see how Jai is thriving,” said Lead Ranger, Aidan Rafferty.
“Currently he’s feeding from his mother Maya but he’s also starting to pick at some grass and hay. A healthy rhino calf will put on about one to two kilos a day in weight at this stage of their lives. He’s a very lively and inquisitive calf.
“Visitors can usually get on opportunity to see him in the afternoons when he’s outside in his paddock with his mother, generally running about and playing!”
“There has been a great reaction from the public and visitors to news of his birth, and we received nearly one thousand name suggestions over the last few weeks. After much consideration we settled on Jai. The name really suits him, and he really is a triumph and victory for breeding success here at Fota, for the species conservation work we do and raising awareness about the loss of biodiversity worldwide.”
The name Jai was suggested by Cliodhna Kellegher from County Leitrim, who wins a year-long Conservation Pass to Fota Wildlife Park.
There are now four Indian rhino at Fota Wildlife Park, Maya, Jamil, Jai, and a non-breeding male, Shusto.
Fota Wildlife Park is open daily from 10 am, closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and St. Stephen’s Day.