In the middle of the night on October 9, Kidogo the Southern White Rhinoceros gave birth to a healthy male calf at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, the third birth of this species in the zoo’s history. Now just a few weeks old, the calf, which has been named “Khari” (K-har-E), an African name meaning “king like,” is already romping in the Rhino yard’s mud puddles.
While the zoo’s herd has grown by one, the wild population of Rhinos decreases by one every 15 hours due to poaching.
Demand for Rhino horn has skyrocketed in southeast Asia where horn, which is made out of keratin -- the same material found in human hair and nails -- is wrongly believed to have medicinal properties. In 2012 in South Africa, 668 Rhinos were killed by poachers, and it is estimated that as many as 1,000 Rhinos could be lost this year. By 2016, Rhino deaths from poaching could overtake wild births.
The zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Southern White Rhino Species Survival Plan, designed to support conservation of this species.
The zoo is currently home to a herd of seven Southern White Rhinos: three adult females from the Phinda Reserve in Africa, one adult male, the second-born juvenile Rhino “Kande,” and the newborn. Because White Rhinos live in herds, Kidogo and Khari have begun introductions to the other Rhinos and the Grevy’s Zebras that share the outdoor exhibit.
The White Rhinoceros has two horns at the end of its muzzle, the most prominent in the front. Unlike Indian Rhinos, White Rhinos use their horns for defense. Females use their horn to protect their young while males use them to battle each other. Adult White Rhinos can reach weights of about 5,000 pounds, with most calves weighing between 100-140 pounds.
See more photos of Khari below the fold.