An Eastern Black Rhinoceros calf born on December 28 at Switzerland’s Zoo Zurich is out to prove that she’s growing up. Not only is this little female calf, named Olmoti, starting to grow her horn, she’s also practicing her charging skills, as seen in the video below.
Video Credit: Nicole Schnyder
You first met Olmoti here shortly after her birth. Now over two months old, her horn is beginning to grow on her snout. You can see the little “button” that will slowly grow into a horn.
In the video, Olmoti charges at her mother in little bursts, a skill all Rhinos use as a defense against unfamiliar things. Rhinos have relatively poor eyesight, so when taken by surprise, they may rush at people, vehicles, stationary objects, or other Rhinos to frighten them off.
Unfortunately for Rhinos, their horns led to a 96% loss in population from the 1970s to the 1990s, putting these unique animals on the brink of extinction. Demand for Rhino horn, which is made of keratin like your hair and fingernails, has exploded in the last 40 years. Sold on illegal markets, Rhino horn is used in traditional Asian medicine and for traditional dagger handles in Yemen.
Thanks to enhanced protection and Yemen signing the Convention on International trade in Endangered Species (CITES), Black Rhino populations are slowly increasing. However, these animals are still Critically Endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.