Wellington’s Conservation Crusader
Pioneering research by Victoria University conservation biologist Wayne Linklater could save the endangered black rhino from extinction. Like many threatened species, the captive black rhino population suffers from a potentially disastrous gender imbalance. Linklater attributes the extreme male-biased birth rate (71%) of black rhinos in captivity to high glucose levels in mothers. “Glucose levels in the pregnant mothers are raised if they are stressed, fed a sugar-rich diet, and obese,” he explains in the NZ Herald. “This has fatal consequences, particularly for female embryos. It is not that more male calves are being conceived, but rather that fewer female embryos survive to be born.” Linklater’s theory – borne out of his research into the Kaimanawa wild horses – has far-reaching implications for other endangered species, including zebras, gorillas and giraffes.