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.