Dugan the White Rhino dies at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – WDW News Today

We are sad to announce that Dugan the White Rhino from Disney’s Animal Kingdom has passed away.

Dugan the White Rhino

Logan and Dugan

Dugan the White Rhino was born in 1995 at the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee before moving to the Erie Zoo in Pennsylvania. It arrived at its latest home, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, in 2018. How the crashing rhino bull, as a group of rhinos are called, helped father three offspring as part of the Species Survival Plan led by the Association of zoos and aquariums, which oversee the responsible breeding of endangered species.

He is survived by each of his companions and three sons Ranger, Mylo and Logan.

Cast members of Kilimanjaro Safaris confirmed the news today when asked. He passed away on the morning of June 1st.

Species survival plan

Disney has worked tirelessly since Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened in 1998 to aid in the global conservation of animals, especially endangered species. In a 2022 publication, the Disney Parks Blog outlined the many steps that led to the birth of three white rhinos in the park, a major conservation success:

These successful rhino births are a major achievement for our team and the managed care rhino population. All three rhinos allow us to learn more about this amazing species and these learnings can be shared for the benefit of rhinos around the world.

It takes a lot of teamwork to bring one rhino to the bush, let alone three for the first time in park history! As amazing as it is to see three baby rhinos wandering together, what is truly amazing is our Animals, Science and Environment team who helped make this a reality starting over two years ago. The coordination of our scientists, vets, animal breeders and many other cast members has been instrumental in this success story.

So what exactly does this process include?

Selection through the Species Survival Plan
The process begins with a lot of planning and logistical preparation. Many factors influence rhino mating through the Species Survival Plan overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to ensure responsible breeding of endangered and threatened species in managed care. The genetic diversity of selected rhinos is one of the most important factors, and mating genetically unrelated individuals helps ensure a healthy animal population for generations.

Animal nutrition
Our team of animal nutritionists monitor the diets of all animals in our care to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need. Once rhinos are mated, their diet can be further tailored as needed for pregnancy, lactation, and growth.

Endocrinology
Before making any introductions, our team of animal endocrinologists monitor specific hormonal patterns that change after ovulation and during rhino pregnancy. This tracking is possible because rhinos are trained to voluntarily participate in their own care, allowing our team to collect blood and stool samples to monitor hormones related to ovulation and pregnancy. Once the appropriate timing has been determined, breeding can begin through a carefully controlled process.

Veterinary care
Our animal health team works with endocrinologists and animal breeders to monitor animals throughout their long pregnancies. Rhinos have one of the longest gestation periods of any animal! During these approximately 16-18 months, the health of mother and child is monitored through regular check-ups and ultrasounds. Through these ultrasounds, the team was able to watch Logan grow from a ball of cells to the 300 pounds he weighed at birth.

Animal care and training
Through training sessions, our pet care experts work individually with each mum to participate in regular checkups throughout her pregnancy. This helps ensure the health of mom and baby.

Once the baby rhino is born, mom and baby will spend months behind the scenes together. During this crucial period, farmers will ensure that the calf is nursing and growing. This time also allows keepers to focus on each animal and teach important training behaviors so the baby rhino is primed for success and social life on the bush. Once the calf is ready, keepers work with the baby rhinos to slowly introduce them to rhino crash and the many other animals of the savannah.

Rhino Conservation
White rhinos are a very social species and are constantly learning from each other. Just as they convey important behaviors like sparring and wallowing in mud, with each successful rhino birth our team is able to better understand and share vital information about the many dynamics of rhino fertility. These learning experiences lead to an even higher quality of care for this special species and can be put into practice to help future rhinos born into managed care as well as their counterparts found in the countries where they live.

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  • Spencer Lloyd

    Spencer Lloyd is a college student/park addict living in Tokyo. He runs TDRPlans.com, a comprehensive source of information and travel planning related to Tokyo Disney Resort. And fun fact, he’s the only person in history to have been in the same racing vehicle as Tom Corless.

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