Two-tonne Indian rhinos to make their Fota debut

Forget Jurassic Park, Cork people will get their own glimpse into prehistoric times when armour plated Indian rhinos arrive in Fota in the coming weeks.

Two-tonne Indian rhinos to make their Fota debut

Although no definite date has been set, Fota Wildlife Park said they are gearing up for the new arrival sometime between now and mid July and excitement is building among the team at the park.

Indian rhinos look very different from the black and white rhino in that they only have one horn and appear to be wearing armour plates. With such a prehistoric look, they appear quite similar to the triceratops dinosaur.

Marketing manager at Fota Wildlife Park Stephen Ryan said the park will initially bring over one rhino from a safari park in the UK but more are due to follow.

“They’re huge. You are looking at an animal that weighs two tonnes, is six foot high and 12 feet long. It will possibly have the biggest house in the park. It’s exciting times for us right now. Last year, we had the arrival of one of the big carnivores — the tiger. This year we are stepping up again to one of the biggest animals outside of the elephant,” he said.

Mr Ryan said business at the wildlife park was booming as people flock from all over Ireland to catch a glimpse of the park’s ever expanding stable of exotic animals.

“We are flying and busier than ever. Last year was our busiest year ever and we are already busier than this time last year. Our visitors went from 367,000 visitors to 438,000 visitors in the last 12 months so it’s exciting times,” he said.

The marketing manager for the park said the €9m investment that has been poured into the park has really paid dividends in recent years.

“The visitor experience is much better. The park is growing but I think people enjoy the fact that we have retained the same ethos where the animals have loads of space,” he said.

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