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AZA accredited zoo sends white rhino named Maoto to troubled roadside zoo for breeding

Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park, Litchfield Park, AZ, has announced they have obtained a white rhino named Maoto from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego, CA, to be used for breeding. The San Diego Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) while Wildlife World is a roadside zoo.

Zoos accredited by the AZA are held to a higher standard than roadside zoos, although both are also regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Since 2015, the San Diego Zoo has received no critical or direct USDA violations. Wildlife World has received two critical USDA violations and one direct USDA violation during that same time period. The direct violation was for failing to obtain veterinary care for prairie dogs that were exhibiting neurological symptoms such as stumbling and falling.

In a press release, Wildlife World’s Director of Media Relations Kristy Morcom said the rhinos at Wildlife World Zoo that Maoto will be breeding were taken from the wild and shipped overseas to the Arizona roadside zoo.

“It's immensely rewarding to know that Wildlife World had the resources and capabilities to import our female rhinos from Africa where they are no longer at risk of being slaughtered by poachers and provide them and Maoto a natural environment to procreate,” Morcom said in the press release. “We are all so excited to be entering the next phase, which is welcoming baby rhinos that will become the front runners in saving their species!”

However, capturing rhinos from the wild to be kept in captivity is also poaching, and breeding rhinos to spend the rest of their lives in a cage does nothing to preserve rhino’s wild counterparts.

A recent visitor to Wildlife World commented on the conditions: “These exhibits are so sad. You have animals clearly stressed and in small exhibits. They were clearly showing signs of distress in some of them. It seems the newer part of the park is nicer giving the animals much more space, but I would never return. It’s important to support places that take care of their animals and I just wasn’t seeing that as much here.”


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