Rhino

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.

Continue reading "White Rhino 'Warrior' Born at Ramat Gan Safari " »


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.

Continue reading "First Photos of Hours-old Baby Rhino" »


Rhino Birth Live-Streamed at Burgers' Zoo

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A Southern White Rhinoceros calf’s birth was highly anticipated by fans at Burgers’ Zoo.  The Rhino den was live-streamed for almost a month as keepers awaited the baby’s arrival.

Because Rhinos have such thick skin, even ultrasounds cannot accurately aid in predicting the birthdate. The male calf, named Thomas, was finally born to female Kwanzaa at about 4:00 AM on May 30.

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Rhino1Photo Credit:  Burgers' Zoo

Thomas began walking and nursing within just a few hours of his birth, which is normal for Rhinos.  The staff at Burgers’ Zoo pronounced Thomas healthy and strong based on his appetite and activity level.

Southern White Rhinos are the largest of all Rhino species, with adult males weighing two-and-a-half tons.  In the wild, they inhabit open savannahs, mainly in South Africa. Though they are the most abundant of all Rhinos, they are considered Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Like all Rhino species and subspecies, Southern White Rhinos are illegally killed for their horns. The horns are ground to a fine powder for use in Traditional Asian Medicine, despite the lack of evidence that the horns provide any health benefits. 

See more photos of Thomas below.

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Chester Zoo’s Rhino Calf Enjoys Muddy Puddles

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Chester Zoo’s Eastern Black Rhino calf, Gabe, was recently photographed enjoying his first ever mud bath.

The youngster was seen slipping and sliding in the mud as he charged around with 13-year-old mum, Ema Elsa.

Kim Wood, assistant team manager of Rhinos at Chester Zoo, said, “Rhinos love nothing more than to roll around and play in fresh mud and it was great to see Gabe charge right in and enjoy getting messy. With the start of spring bringing in some warmer weather, wallowing in mud is great way for our Rhinos to cool off and it also helps to keep the Rhinos’ skin nice and healthy. We really do give them the five star spa treatment!”

Kim continued, “We’re really pleased with how Gabe is developing. He’s gaining in confidence with every passing day and helping us to raise more awareness of the terrible plight that his species is facing up to in the wild where, sadly, the Eastern Black Rhino is being illegally hunted to very edge of extinction.”

2_Mud, glorious mud! Two-month-old Eastern black rhino calf, with mum Ema Elsa (3)

3_Mud, glorious mud! Two-month-old Eastern black rhino calf, Gabe, charges through a mud wallow at Chester Zoo (19)

4_Mud, glorious mud! Two-month-old Eastern black rhino calf, Gabe, charges through a mud wallow at Chester Zoo (12)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

 

Black Rhino populations have dropped by more than 95% over the last 50 years due to a global surge in illegal poaching for their horns, which continues to devastate the species.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the Eastern Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) as “Critically Endangered”.  Their wild numbers are currently estimated at just 740 across Africa.

Continue reading "Chester Zoo’s Rhino Calf Enjoys Muddy Puddles" »


April Showers Bring…a Rhino Calf ?

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The Indian Rhino calf at the Toronto Zoo is almost seven-weeks-old! He was born February 17 to eleven-year-old mom Ashakiran (also known as Asha) and 12-year-old dad, Vishnu.

(ZooBorns introduced the new guy to readers, soon after his birth: “Toronto Zoo Announces Birth of Vulnerable Rhino”.)

According to the Zoo, the "little" guy is now over 200 pounds. They also report that he has become quite brave, often venturing further from mom Asha and interacting more with Keepers. Although still nursing, staff say he is starting to mouth some food, including: bamboo, apple, browse and the carrots that Keepers provide Asha.

He also loves his afternoon showers, and is often observed playfully rolling around in the water and encouraging mom to come play with him.

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4_12794986_984150854954693_2745402692191822767_oPhoto and Video Credits: Toronto Zoo

 

 

The baby Rhino also has the rudiments of the distinctive horn. Although, it will be some time before it will be noticeable. A Rhino’s horn is made of keratin, like human fingernails. The full horn will not be in place until approximately six-years of age.

The calf has not been named, but the Toronto Zoo will make that announcement soon, via their social media pages. Asha and her son are now on exhibit at the Zoo.

The recent birth is very important for Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) conservation, as the species is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, and there are only approximately 2,000 left in the wild.

Continue reading "April Showers Bring…a Rhino Calf ?" »


Small (but Strong) Rhino Calf Debuts at Zoo de Beauval

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A White Rhino calf was born December 3 at Zoo de Beauval, in France. The young male was born to mom, Satara, and dad, Smoske, and has been given the name Hawii.

Hawii recently took his first steps onto his family’s African Savannah exhibit at the Zoo.

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4_Zoo de Beauval's White Rhino calfPhoto Credits: Zoo de Beauval

The White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), also known as the “Square-lipped Rhinoceros”, is the largest extant species of rhinoceros. It has a wide mouth used for grazing and is the most social of all rhino species.

The White Rhinoceros is considered to consist of two subspecies: the Southern White Rhinoceros, with an estimated 20,000 wild-living animals as of 2015, and the much rarer Northern White Rhinoceros. The northern subspecies has very few remaining, with only three confirmed individuals left (two females and one male), all in captivity.

White Rhinos are found in grassland and savannah habitat. Herbivore grazers that eat grass, preferring the shortest grains, they are one of the largest pure grazers. They drink twice a day, if water is available. If conditions are dry it can live four or five days without water. Like all species of rhinoceros, White Rhinos love wallowing in mud holes to cool down.

The White Rhinoceros is quick and agile and can run 50 km/h (31 mph), and they prefer to live in “crashes” or herds of up to 14 animals (usually mostly female).

Breeding pairs stay together between 5–20 days before they part their separate ways. Gestation occurs around 16–18 months. A single calf is born and usually weighs between 40 and 65 kg (88 and 143 lb). Calves are unsteady for their first two to three days of life. Weaning starts at about two months, but the calf may continue suckling for over 12 months. The birth interval for the white rhino is between two and three years. Before giving birth, the mother will chase off her current calf. White Rhinos can live to be up to 40–50 years old.

Adult White Rhinos have no natural predators (other than humans) due to their size. Young rhinos are rarely attacked or preyed upon due to the mother's presence and their tough skin.

The White Rhino is currently classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN: “The reason for rating this species as Near Threatened and not Least Concern is due to the continued and increased poaching threat and increasing illegal demand for horn, increased involvement of organized international criminal syndicates in rhino poaching (as determined from increased poaching levels, intelligence gathering by wildlife investigators, increased black market prices and apparently new non-traditional medicinal uses of rhino horn)…One of the main threats to the population is illegal hunting (poaching) for the international rhino horn trade. Rhino horn has two main uses: traditional use in Chinese medicine, and ornamental use (for example, rhino horn is a highly prized material for making ornately carved handles for ceremonial daggers (jambiyas) worn in some Middle East countries).”


Toronto Zoo Announces Birth of Vulnerable Rhino

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The Toronto Zoo would like to announce that Ashakiran, an 11-year-old female Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), gave birth to a male calf on Wednesday, February 17, 2016.

The recent birth is very important for Indian Rhinoceros conservation, as the species is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, and there are only approximately 2,000 left in the wild.

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Reaching near extinction in the early 1900’s, the Indian Rhino (also known as the Greater One-Horned Rhino or Great Indian Rhinoceros) was once listed as Endangered. However, with conservation efforts and strict protection, its status changed in the 90s. This is considered a conservation success story, but they are not out of the woods. Habitat degradation, human-rhino conflict, and poaching continue to be threats.

The Indian Rhinoceros exists in a few small subpopulations in Nepal and India (West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Assam), inhabiting the riverine grasslands of the Terai and Brahmaputra Basins. With 70 % of the wild population occurring in one area in Kaziranga National Park, any catastrophic event could have a huge impact on conservation efforts for this species.

An Indian Rhinoceros' gestation lasts 425 - 496 days (approximately 16 months), and a single young is born between the end of February and the end of April. Subsequently, Ashakiran, affectionately known to her keepers as "Asha", was moved from public viewing into a maternity area within the Indian Rhino habitat mid-January, where video cameras were set in place for Wildlife Care to monitor her closely. While the calf appears healthy, and feeding well, the first thirty days will be critical for both mom and calf. Toronto Zoo Wildlife Care staff will continue to closely monitor Asha and her calf in the maternity area, which is not visible to the public at this time.

This is the first surviving calf for Asha and father, Vishnu (12-years-old). Asha gave birth to a stillborn calf back in 2011, and since then, was able to get pregnant but could not maintain pregnancy. The Toronto Zoo partnered with the Cincinnati Zoo and proceeded to follow their developed protocol of giving oral progesterone to Asha to help her maintain pregnancy. This collaborative research resulted in the birth of this healthy calf and will strengthen conservation breeding efforts in the future. This is the fourth birth of an Indian Rhinoceros in Toronto Zoo's history. The last Indian Rhinoceros to be born at the Toronto Zoo was a female named Sanya (born August 14, 1999), who now resides at The Wilds in Ohio, USA.

"Asha is on a breeding loan from Los Angeles Zoo and it is these partnerships that will bring us one step closer to overall conservation efforts to save this incredible species," says Maria Franke, Curator of Mammals, Toronto Zoo. "I would also like to thank the amazing team at the Toronto Zoo for all of the hard work and dedication that has resulted in this significant birth."

The Toronto Zoo is part of the Indian Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan (SSP), which aims to establish and maintain healthy, genetically diverse populations, and overall conservation efforts to save this incredible species. One of the Toronto Zoo's mandates is to educate visitors on current conservation issues and help preserve the incredible biodiversity on the planet. The Toronto Zoo is in a great position to bring forward the plight of the Indian Rhinoceros and supports rhinoceros conservation efforts in the wild, through the Toronto Zoo Endangered Species Reserve Fund.

*Please note, Asha and her calf are not currently visible to the public.


A Little Prince Debuts in Australia

RajahThe first Greater One-horned Rhino to be born in Australia made his public debut last week at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

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Rajah on his own Rick Stevens  (33)Photo Credit:  Rick Stevens
 
You first read about the calf on ZooBorns here after his October 25, 2015 birth was announced.  The calf was named Rajah, which means ‘prince,’ reflecting his significance to the species’ breeding program.

“Rajah’s birth is the result of over 15 years of hard work and dedication from keepers and zoo staff,” said New South Wales Deputy Premier, Troy Grant.

The stage was set for Rajah’s birth when the zoo constructed a new Rhino facility in 2002.  Shortly after that, the zoo obtained a bull Rhino named Dora from Japan and Amala, a female Rhino, from the United States.  As Amala matured, keepers fine-tuned their husbandry techniques to better understand the species’ breeding habits, including travelling to India to participate in Rhino conservation projects. 

Zoo Director Matthew Fuller said, “In 2012 introductions began with keepers spending months getting the pair ready to meet each other. Finally, in 2014 the pair was introduced and a mating took place and in October, our little prince was born.”

Rajah and his mother have spent the past four months bonding behind the scenes while keepers helped Rajah learn new routines for his debut.  They have learned that Rajah is a little fussy, especially about bananas, his favorite treat:  if the skin is too tough or too brown, he won’t eat it!

Also known as Indian Rhinos, Greater One-horned Rhinos are found only on the Indian sub-continent.

Zoo breeding programs may hold the key to survival for creatures like the Greater One-horned Rhino.  In the early 1900s, Rhinos were nearly wiped out due to excessive sport hunting, but the establishment of reserves and anti-poaching laws helped to stabilize the species.  Some animals were translocated from existing reserves to establish new populations in protected areas of India.   Poaching for Rhino horns continues to be a threat.  Only about 2,700 Greater One-horned Rhinos remain in the wild.