COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – As rhinos face extreme threats from poaching in their natural habitat, programs like ones at The Wilds serve as an arc to ensure their species survival.

In fact, The Wilds contributes greatly to that with its successful breeding program, one of the most successful programs in North America. The Wilds is the only facility that can claim a fifth-generation birth, a point of pride for animal management specialist Cody Cseplo.

 “Our first calf was born in 2004 and right now we’re around 30 calves.” According to Cseplo, a large part of their success is keeping the rhinos in their natural social groups.

“Their mother raised them, and then their mother produced their younger sibling and so they got to learn how to treat a baby and learn how to be good parents.”

With an average of two births a year, another contributing factor is the rotation of male rhinos.

“We bring in a new male every few years. That gives him novelty for the girls, because it seems like they might get a little bored with the same guy over and over again,” said Cseplo.

Having hundreds of acres of land is helpful too. It means a healthy diet for the rhinos, who feed on natural grass for a good portion of the year.

“In a smaller situation, they would have this grass buzzed down to where they’re having to supplement them more with hay more frequently. Whereas here, there’s a good portion of the year, we don’t have to supplement them at all. They can kind of take care of themselves,” said Cseplo.

All of these factors lead to the health and happiness of these creatures who are incredibly social.

“They see people and they want to interact with you,” said Cseplo. “So, it’s real rewarding for them and it’s real rewarding for us because we’re able to have this close relationship with them. We learn more about them and take care of them properly.”

That is key, since many rhinos in captivity stay in breeding programs like the one at The Wilds.

“Rhinos are highly endangered and they face a poaching threat in Africa and Asia. So, there’s a lot of questions about whether or not rhinos should be returning to the natural environment, and whether or not that’s safe for them,” said Cseplo.

You can learn more about The Wilds and the rhinos by visiting