A Canterbury zoo has joined an Australasian programme aiming to build a backup population of rhinos in case of extinction.
Experts say the wild population is on a rapid decline and we should be preparing for the worst.
"Poaching is at unprecedented levels and at this rate poaching is outstripping the birth rate," Orana Park Chief Executive Lynn Anderson said.
Christchurch's Orana Park is playing matchmaker, joining the Australian Rhino Project to help offset a grim scenario.
"If the worst happens and rhino do become extinct in the wild which would be a terrible thing, we have a good population safe here in Australasia," Ms Anderson said.
Orana Park already has six rhinos and plans to take on even more by swapping animals with zoos from across the ditch to stop inbreeding.
It's still early days to say anyone has got the National Party leadership in the bag, but there was a strong showing from Amy Adams when she launched her bid today, says 1 NEWS Political Editor Corin Dann.
Former minister Judith Collins was the first to announce her bid this morning following leader Bill English's announcement yesterday that he's resigning from February 27 and leaving Parliament.
Tauranga MP Simon Bridges, another former minister and a frontrunner, was next to throw his hat in the ring.
And this afternoon Selwyn MP Amy Adams, also a former minister, put her hand up for the job, in the biggest leadership play of the day.
Unlike the others, the 46-year-old announced her run flanked by a group of supportive MPs.
"The colleagues behind me wanted to come out today and support me. And that means a lot to me. They represent a broad range of electorates and a broad range of views and that's the beauty of the National Party," Ms Adams said.
Dann says Ms Adams is projecting "a pretty strong image" that she's already got a fair amount of support in the caucus.
"And I think there's an element of confidence amongst those MPs that they're going to be able to get there and get the numbers," Dann said, referring to Ms Adams' supporters.
"But it is early days. and in many ways she does need to work a bit harder to begin with. She doesn't have the name recognition and the profile perhaps that Simon Bridges and Judith Collins do," he added.
"What it does do also though is put huge pressure on them to try and show and have other MPs coming out and backing them."
While only three candidates have formally confirmed theri bids, there are others who may yet jump into the race, including former front bench ministers Steven Joyce and Jonathan Coleman.
"There's a long way to go in this. I'm not ruling anything in or out. I mean we have two weeks to go," Mr Coleman said.
Mr Joyce said: "I'm considering my position currently."
Dann said Mr Joyce and Mr Coleman are "wildcard potentials" that might come into the race.
"So I think it's still early days to say anyone's got this in the bag. But clearly a strong showing from Amy Adams today," he said.
Meanwhile Rodney MP and former policeman Mark Mitchell is a likely wildcard candidate, at this stage saying "I am considering".