Rhino

Two Rhinos Born Days Apart at Chester Zoo

Kitani's calf was the first of the two rare rhinos to be born at Chester Zoo in a week (22)

Two rare Eastern Black Rhino calves were born within days of each other at the Chester Zoo, boosting global numbers of the Critically Endangered species.

The new mothers, Kitani and Zuri, delivered their babies on June 19 and June 26 after 15-month-long pregnancies. The babies were delivered safely onto soft sand.

Kitani's calf was the first of the two rare rhinos to be born at Chester Zoo in a week (27)
Zuri's calf was the second of two rare rhinos to be born at Chester Zoo in just a week (10)Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo

Video footage shows Kitani spinning around as she delivers her calf. The youngster was on its feet within a few minutes of birth, and took its first wobbly steps as amazed zoo visitors watched.

Both calves are doing well, and Kitani and Zuri are excellent mothers, according to their care team at Chester Zoo.

Less than 650 Eastern Black Rhinos now remain across Africa, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the animals as Critically Endangered in the wild.

The two births are a boost for the endangered species breeding program for Eastern Black Rhinos, which are teetering on the brink of extinction in the wild. Zoo births are managed to retain the highest level of genetic diversity as a hedge against possible extinction in the wild.

In addition, knowledge obtained from the zoo’s Rhino breeding program is being used right now in Africa to boost conservation efforts in the field.  

A huge surge in illegal poaching, driven by a global increase in demand for Rhino horn to supply the traditional Asian medicine market, resulted in around 95% of Rhinos being wiped out since the turn of the 20th century. 2014 was branded ‘the worst poaching year on record’ by leading conservationists after more than 1,200 Rhinos were hunted in South Africa alone - a 9,000% increase from 2007.

The issue is being driven by the street value of Rhino horn, which sells for more per gram than gold or cocaine, although modern science has proven it completely useless for medicinal purposes.  Rhino horn is made from keratin – the same material as human hair and nails.

See more photos of the calves below.

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Endangered Rhino Wins Hearts at Saint Louis Zoo

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A male Black Rhinoceros calf was born at the Saint Louis Zoo on May 17. The calf has been named Moyo (“heart” in Swahili). He is the second offspring for mother, Kati Rain, and father, Ajabu.

According to keepers, the little male is nursing well and being cared for by his mother. The pair has been bonding in their barn behind the scenes in their River’s Edge exhibit. A date has not yet been set for their public debut.

This is the second Black Rhino to be born at the Zoo in 26 years and only the tenth in

Saint Louis Zoo’s history. Moyo’s older brother, named Ruka, was born in 2011. In the summer of 2015, Ruka moved to the Oregon Zoo to pair with a compatible female there, as recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Black Rhino Species Survival Plan (SSP).

Kati Rain and Ajabu arrived at the Zoo’s River’s Edge in 2007. Kati Rain is from Sedgwick County Zoo, and Ajabu is from San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Both are 13 years old.

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Black-rhino-Moyo_photo-by-Kathryn Pilgram-Kloppe Saint-Louis-Zoo_5-19-2017_webPhoto Credits: Saint Louis Zoo/ Images 1 & 2: Elizabeth Irwin / Image 3: Kathryn Pilgram-Kloppe  

The Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis), also known as the Hook-lipped Rhinoceros, is a species native to eastern and southern Africa including Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Although it is referred to as “black”, its colors vary from brown to grey.

The critically endangered Black Rhino has experienced the most drastic decline of any of the five surviving Rhino species. Between 1970 and 1992, the Black Rhino population in Africa dropped by 96 percent. By 1993, only 2,300 individuals survived in the wild.

Black Rhinos are being pushed to the brink of extinction by illegal poaching for their horns, and to a lesser extent by loss of habitat. The horn is falsely believed to be medicine in many Asian cultures. Because of conservationists’ intensive anti-poaching efforts in the 1990s and 2000s, the number of Black Rhinos in the wild began increasing slowly.

The species overall is classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN, and three subspecies, including the Western Black Rhinoceros, were declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2011.

Current estimates show 5,055 individual Black Rhinos are alive in the wild. The Saint Louis Zoo’s Black Rhinos are part of the AZA Black Rhino SSP, a program to manage a genetically healthy population of Black Rhinos in North American zoos.

With the addition of Moyo, there are currently 60 Eastern Black Rhinos in 26 AZA institutions. The Saint Louis Zoo's WildCare Institute Center for Conservation in the Horn of Africa supports the Sera Rhino Sanctuary in northern Kenya in partnership with the Northern Rangelands Trust. Additionally, the Zoo’s WildCare Institute supports the Stop Poaching Now program through the International Rhino Foundation.


Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary Welcomes White Rhino Calf

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There is exciting news from Uganda’s Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch. On December 26, 2016, their fourth Rhino of 2016 was born. The young male Southern White Rhino was named Noel and is becoming a valuable member of the ranch’s Rhino herd.

The timing of his birth, during the Christmas season, inspired Noel’s name. The strong, healthy boy is seen as a true gift to the Uganda Rhino reintroduction program. According to the sanctuary, it is very befitting that he was born on December 26, considering his mother's name, Malaika, means “angel”.

Uganda was once the only place in East Africa where both White and Black Rhinos lived. Both species were hunted intensively during the British colonial period, and they were finished off during the violent rule of Idi Amin in the 1970s. When Amin came to power in 1971, there were around 100 White and 300 Black Rhinos in northern Uganda. When he was overthrown eight years later in Uganda, only a handful of the Rhinos remained. By the early 1980s, there were none.

Today, with the help of organizations like Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch and Rhino Fund Uganda, the country’s fragile Rhino population is making a comeback. In 2005, Rhino Fund Uganda and the Uganda Wildlife Authority reintroduced Rhinos as part of the Ziwa project. The focus was to create a safe environment for them to live and breed in peace.

Nineteen Rhinos now live at the ranch and are guarded by approximately 80 park rangers, along with 24- hour security guards. Travelers can visit Noel and his family at Ziwa to learn more about Rhinos and the conservation efforts in place in Uganda to ensure they are around for future generations.

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3_New Rhino Baby with Mother ZiwaPhoto Credits: Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a collaborative effort between the Rhino Fund Uganda, a Ugandan NGO committed to the restoration of Uganda's Rhinoceros population and the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

The sanctuary offers a secure place where Rhino populations can be expanded by breeding, protected from human and non-human predators and gradually be re-introduced into Uganda's national parks, while at the same time, allowing the public to enjoy these majestic animals, as the project moves forward.

A team of approximately 80 park rangers and security guards keep a 24-hour watch on the Rhinos to ensure their safety. The 70 square kilometres (7,000 ha) sanctuary is surrounded by a 2 metres (6.6 ft) electric fence to keep the Rhinos in and the intruders out.

The sanctuary is also home to at least 40 mammal and reptilian species, including: monkey, antelope, hippopotamus, crocodile and numerous bird species. In addition to Rhino trekking on foot, tourist activities include birding, canoe rides and nature walks.

The sanctuary is located approximately 180 kilometres (110 mi), by road, north of Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city. This location is near Nakitoma Village, Nakasongola District, in the Kafu River Basin, off the Kampala-Gulu Highway.

For more information on ways to help the sanctuary or plan a visit to the ranch, please see their website: www.rhinofund.org


Rhino Calf is 35th for Basel Zoo

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When Quetta the Indian Rhinoceros, who is normally calm and relaxed, began nervously pacing at the Basel Zoo on Saturday, January 7, keepers suspected that she might be in labor.  Quetta remained in her stall all night, alternately standing and lying down. Around 11:45 PM, she delivered a healthy male calf after a 492-day pregnancy.

Born while his mother was standing up, the calf, named Orys, landed on his back but soon rolled onto his stomach. Within an hour he was standing on wobbly legs.  Though he is tiny compared to his mother, Orys weighed an impressive 150 pounds a few days after birth.  

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Panzernashorn_jungtier_orys_und_quetta_ZOB3252Photo Credit:  Basel Zoo

Basel Zoo has a long history of breeding Rhinos.  Orys is Quetta’s fourth calf and the 35th Indian Rhinoceros to be reared at Basel Zoo.  The first Indian Rhino birth in a European Zoo occurred at Basel Zoo in 1956.

Every Rhino birth is significant.  Once ranging across Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, Indian Rhinos are now found only in a few protected areas in India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Indian Rhinos are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with about 3,500 individuals remaining in the wild. Indian Rhinos are one of five Rhino species in the world, and all are under threat.

Basel Zoo coordinates the International Studbook and the European Endangered Species Programme for Indian Rhinos and is active in the ‘Indian Rhino Vision 2020’ project to conserve wild Rhinos in India. Globally, about 220 Indian Rhinos live in zoos.

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Baby Rhino Snuggles With Mom at The Wilds

Rhino (Greater One-Horned) Calf 0012 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
A Greater One-horned Rhino – a species that nearly went extinct in the 20th century – was born at the Wilds conservation center on November 11. This is the seventh Greater One-horned Rhino to be born at the Wilds

The calf and his mom, Sanya, are doing well and have been bonding in the barn on the Wilds property. The animal care team has been monitoring the pair closely, but has not needed to provide any immediate assistance to the experienced mother. Calves usually weigh more than 100 pounds at birth and gain a few pounds every day. An adult Greater One-horned Rhino can weigh 4,000 to 6,000 pounds.   

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Rhino (Greater One-Horned) Calf 9983 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credit:  Grahm S. Jones/Columbus Zoo & Aquarium



“Rhino conservation has come a long way in the past 100 years, but there is still work to be done,” said Daniel Beetem, director of animal management at the Wilds. “Rhinos continue to be poached for the misconception that their horns have medicinal value, when the horns are the chemical equivalent of human fingernails. Rhinos also face the imminent danger of declining habitat quality. We are proud to help keep this incredible species alive through our breeding program at the Wilds.”   

Sanya, born in Toronto in 1999, has now given birth to four calves since arriving at the Wilds in 2004. The father, Rustum, was born at a zoo in India and imported to the United States in 2007 to bring genetic diversity to the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). This newborn is Rustum’s fifth offspring. 

The Wilds, home to four Greater One-horned Rhinos, is one of only 26 facilities in North America to care for this species. The Wilds is also home to 13 southern white Rhinos. In total, more than 500 animals representing 29 species from around the world make up the animal population at the open-range, natural landscape at the Wilds.  

Once listed as an endangered species, the Greater One-horned Rhino have seen a steady population increase thanks to strict government protection. According to the World Wildlife Fund, there were only 600 individuals surviving in their native ranges of India and Nepal by 1975. Since then, researchers estimate the population has grown to exceed 3,000 Greater One-horned Rhinos living in these areas.  

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Rhino Calf Charms Blank Park Zoo Keepers

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Iowa’s Blank Park Zoo recently announced that Ayana, a six-year-old Eastern Black Rhino, has given birth to an 80-pound female calf.

“This is an extremely significant event, not only in Blank Park Zoo’s 50 year history, but also for this critically endangered animal species,” said Mark Vukovich, Blank Park Zoo CEO.

The birth occurred October 11, and within the first hour, the calf was standing and walking. By two hours old, the calf was attempting to feed: all positive signs of a healthy baby Rhino calf.

The Eastern Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) is also known as the East African Black Rhinoceros. A subspecies of the Black Rhino, its numbers are low due to poaching for its horn. Fewer than 1,000 remain (a combined estimate of wild and captive populations). Only two have been born in the United States, this year, and a total of seven in zoos worldwide. The species is currently listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

"The Eastern Black Rhino is at a 'tipping point' in the wild, meaning that deaths, mostly due to poaching, will soon outnumber births," said Kevin Drees, director of animal care and conservation. “The captive zoo population plays a role in survival of the species, and Blank Park Zoo has partnered with the International Rhino Foundation to secure the species future. This celebrated birth should raise awareness and bring attention to this critical wildlife situation.”

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4_IMG_6256Photo Credits: Blank Park Zoo 

Blank Park Zoo intends to organize a fund-raising campaign that will offer a chance to name the new baby Rhino.

Zoo officials stated that the baby would not be on public exhibit. Their intention is to allow an appropriate amount of bonding time for mom and baby. The Zoo will, however, be releasing updates via pictures, video and live webcams on its Facebook page located at: www.facebook.com/blankparkzoo and on the Zoo’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/blankparkzoo .

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Black Rhino Calf’s First Steps Caught on Camera

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Keepers and staff at Howletts Wild Animal Park, in the UK, have been celebrating the birth of a delightful female Black Rhino.

The tiny calf, born on October 16, has been bonding with her mother in their heated stable, whilst the dedicated keeper team monitors her progress.

Animal Director, Neil Spooner said, “We are absolutely thrilled. She’s delightful, and both calf and mum, Salome, are doing well. This latest arrival signifies real hope for the future of this critically endangered species.”

The young calf, born to first time mother, Salome, has yet to be named. Keepers are so pleased with her progress that they have released CCTV footage of her birth and first steps. The team is confident that mum and baby will be ready to explore the outside exhibit very soon.

Jonathan Usher Smith, Head of Hoofstock Section added, “The footage of the calf taking her first steps is wonderful! As you can see, she is a little wobbly but that is to be expected just hours after birth. After only a week, she is already getting stronger and more confident – we’ve even seen her copying her mother and trying to eat browse – although she won’t be ready for solid food for quite some time yet.”

Baby rhino at Howletts Wild Animal ParkPhoto Credits: Howletts Wild Animal Park/ Aspinall Foundation

The Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is currently classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Numbers in the wild have been decimated at the hands of poachers, who sell Rhino horn to the Asian market (where it is believed to have medicinal properties).

The Aspinall Foundation*, a leading conservation charity, working with Howletts and sister park Port Lympne, has been working to protect the Black Rhino since 1971. The foundation has returned Black Rhinos, born at Port Lympne Reserve, to protected areas in Africa, in the hope of saving the species. This summer, two of the returned Rhinos successfully gave birth in Africa---a testament to the success of the charity’s ‘Back To The Wild’ initiative.

Howletts latest arrival, firmly cements the conservation charity’s reputation as being the most successful breeder of Black Rhinos in the UK, with a total of 37 births to date.

*The Aspinall Foundation manages conservation projects in Congo, Gabon, Indonesia and Madagascar, as well as providing financial support to various partner projects around the world. The conservation charity’s important work helps prevent some of the most endangered species on the planet from becoming extinct.


Critically Endangered Rhino Born at Great Plains Zoo

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A rare Eastern Black Rhino was born September 12 at the Great Plains Zoo. The male calf is the third Rhino born at the Zoo and was the first Eastern Black Rhino, born as part of the Association of Zoos & Aquarium’s (AZA) endangered species breeding program, since 2014. The calf weighed 103 pounds at birth and will be viewable to the public in several weeks.

With the calf and his parents, Jubba and Imara, the Great Plains Zoo now holds three of only 57 Eastern Black Rhinos in North America. It is estimated that fewer than 740 Eastern Black Rhinos are left in the wild, and they are considered to be a critically endangered species. While they do not have natural predators, their numbers are drastically low due in large part to illegal poaching for their valuable horns.

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4_Rhino_calf_10-11-16Photo Credits: Great Plains Zoo

The Zoo is a critical player in the AZA’s endangered species breeding program; the Zoo’s Senior Director of Animal Care, Lisa Smith, is the coordinator for the national Species Survival Plan (SSP). The Zoo’s “Rare Rhinos of Africa” exhibit includes a state-of-the-art breeding facility that was built in 2010. The space was designed to facilitate birthing and care of these large animals, with adaptable birthing suites, in-floor heat, and padded flooring. The Zoo’s veterinarian, vet tech and animal caregivers were able to monitor the mother’s progress toward delivery, both in person and remotely from home, using video cameras and the Internet.

“The baby Rhino’s birth is important for our Zoo, and even more important for the population of Black Rhinos in the Species Survival Plan,” said Elizabeth A. Whealy, President and CEO. “The Zoo is increasing our conservation efforts with zoos around the world to raise awareness of the plight of Rhinos, and to work with partners in the field to protect this amazing animal.”

Jubba and Imara are an important breeding pair. In addition to the new calf, their offspring include Kapuki, a female born in 2005, and Kiano, a male born in 2010. While both Kapuki and Kiano were born at the Great Plains Zoo, both have moved on to become critical breeders within the SSP. Kapuki had her first calf in 2013, and now resides at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, while Kiano’s home is the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Eastern Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli), also known as the East African Black Rhinoceros, is a subspecies of the Black Rhino. Its numbers are very low due to poaching for its horn, and it is listed by the IUCN as “Critically Endangered”.

The Eastern Black Rhino is distinguishable from the southern subspecies by its longer, leaner, and more curved horn. Its skin is also very grooved. Diceros bicornis michaeli is also reportedly more aggressive than the other three subspecies of Black Rhino. They are browsers and are usually found in highland forest and savanna habitats.

All three of the Zoo’s Rhinos are a part of the Zoo’s “Rare Rhinos of Africa” exhibit. The Rhinos can be viewed daily, free with Zoo admission. Visit the Great Plains Zoo online at www.greatzoo.org or call 605-367-7003 for more information.

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White Rhino 'Warrior' Born at Ramat Gan Safari

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The Zoological Center Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan recently shared their excitement about the birth of their 28th Rhinoceros calf!

On August 24th, Tanda, a 23-year old White Rhino, gave birth to a healthy male calf. The Safari also recently announced the name chosen for the new boy. He has been named Tupak (meaning “warrior”).

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4_DSC_5547 copyPhoto Credits: Shai Ben Naftali (Images 1-8); Eren Habani (Image 9)

A few days before giving birth, keepers noted that Tanda's udders had filled out, and she began to distance herself from her two-year old daughter, Tashi. Zookeepers realized that the birth was close and took her to an open area of the Rhino’s yard, nicknamed the "nursery". This yard is shaded and pleasant, surrounded by thick shrubbery. This semi-private area enables all the Rhinos and other animals to see Tanda and smell her, but it also allows her some distance and privacy.

The birth passed uneventfully and a healthy Rhino calf entered the world, with all vital signs looking good. Tanda has been in the nursery with her baby, carefully tending to him and feeding him. Keepers put the other animals' food close to the nursery yard, so that they'll gradually get used to the new addition to the group.

This is Tanda’s fourth offspring since arriving at the Safari 13 years ago, and she is always a devoted mother. The new baby has been getting used to frequent interaction with Zookeepers, as Tanda receives routine eye treatments (necessary due to the chronic eye infection from which she suffers).

In another week or two, Tupak and mom, Tanda, will leave the nursery and join the rest of their herd in the open area of their exhibit.

During the last few years, the Safari Zoological Center Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan has become one of the leading facilities for breeding Rhinos, thanks to the weather and excellent conditions similar to those of their native habitat in Africa. The success is also due to smart decisions, taken in the last few years, regarding the management of the Safari's Rhino population.

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First Photos of Hours-old Baby Rhino

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Keepers snapped these photos of a baby Southern White Rhinoceros just hours after it was born at New Zealand’s Hamilton Zoo in June.

The male calf is described as “determined” by his keepers, and an eager feeder from his mother, Kito.  This is Kito’s third calf as part of the Hamilton Zoo’s Rhino breeding program.  He weighed about 140 pounds at birth.

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_SB_6737Photo Credit:  Thomas Burns
 

Named for the Afrikaans word “weit,” which means wide, referring to the animal’s wide mouth, the Southern White Rhino was thought to be extinct in the late 19th century, but in 1895 a small population of less than 100 individuals was discovered in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.

Today, after 121 years of successful protection and management, White Rhinos are classified as Near Threatened in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

Although still hunted and poached for their horns, which are believed to have medicinal qualities in some cultures, about 20,000 White Rhinos exist in protected areas and private game reserves.  Zoos play their part by showcasing animals as ambassadors for wild populations and conservation projects, as well as providing genetically sound reserve populations.

See more photos of the Rhino calf below.

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