Bangladesh zoo seeks mate for lonely Kanchi the Rhino

DHAKA (AFP) – A lonely rhinoceros at a Bangladesh zoo is looking for new love after losing her partner seven years ago, but pandemic travel restrictions are hampering her keeper’s attempts to play matchmaker.

Kanchi, a star attraction at the Bangladesh National Zoo, is at her most fertile age. But since the death of her male partner in 2014, she has been living on her own in her muddy pen in the northern suburb of the capital.

The malaise of Kanchi the rhino has become increasingly apparent to the two million-plus visitors a year at the Dhaka landmark.

Kanchi refuses food and often snubs her carer Farid Mia, who hugs the rhino and scratches its neck and shoulders.

The one-tonne vegetarian beast is served six kilogrammes of rice bran and one kilogramme of chickpeas each day.

“Her mood swings frequently. Sometimes she does not respond to my calls. It is mainly because she has grown up alone all these years,” Mia said.

“I tell her that we will soon find her a male partner. But she is restless. She needs a partner desperately.”

Zoo Curator Abdul Latif said the coronavirus pandemic had blocked recent efforts to bring in a male rhino from Africa.

“We know she feels lonely and we are trying our best to buy a suitable partner,” Latif told AFP.

A rhino inside an enclosure at the Dhaka zoo. PHOTO: AFP