He is the odd ‘man’ out for he has never had a chance to show his manhood despite a bevy of armour-plated belles around him.
Mohan has been yearning to mate for 30 years now. If no one has found him the ideal match, it’s because he has “one horn too many”.
Mohan’s apparent shortcoming is that he is the only two-horned African rhino in a state with over 65 per cent of the world’s one-horned rhino population. So, he has been forced to live a life of celibacy while his Asian cousins at the Assam State Zoo here have been multiplying.
In his 33 years of captivity, Mohan has often let his frustration show. “Over the years, we tried getting a white (African) mate for him,” zoo DFO Narayan Mahanta told HT. “But there’s only one more two-horned rhino in India, and that too a male in Mysore Zoo.”
Forest officials said they did initially think of mating Mohan with a “local” one-horned rhino. However, Alipore (Kolkata) Zoo’s much-criticised experiment with tigons. Besides, the prohibitive cost of bringing in a female white rhino also discouraged the authorities’ plan.
“That is an excuse for a zoo that has received huge money for upgrade,” said Sangeeta Goswami of People For Animals, which has often locked horns with officials for shabby treatment meted to the caged inmates. “The cost factor is being cited to deny this rhino his sexual rights.”
People for Ethical Treatment to Animals, however, has a different take. “We believe captive breeding of animals in zoos is unethical, even if it means depriving a rhino its right to reproduction,” said PETA activist Anuradha Sawhney from Mumbai.
Zoo officials want Mohan to fulfill his desires, but are aware that his “virile time” is almost over with only 10 years to live. “We’d like to give him one last chance though,” said Mahanta.