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Rhino Baby's Rough Start: Born Blind, But Better Now!

The baby white rhinoceros recently born at New Zealand's Hamilton Zoo had a rough start to life but is now making good progress.  The male calf was born at the zoo in the early hours of Friday, 12 March to first-time mum Kito (9-years-old) and father Kruger (21-years-old). Born with blood blisters in his eyes, the calf had almost zero vision at birth.  His eye problem caused further difficulties when it came to feeding.

Photo Credit: DONNA WALSH/Waikato Times

"In the end staff had to milk Kito in order to bottle-feed (check out the below video!) the calf, as his lack of vision and Kito's inexperience as a mother meant they weren't having any success with suckling," said Hamilton Zoo acting director Samantha Kudeweh.

Photo Credit: Hamilton Zoo

"However since then the calf's eyesight has gradually improved and with support from staff a breakthrough came five days after the birth when the calf found the right spot and began to suckle.  We hope the calf's eyesight will continue to improve in the coming weeks."

Photo Credit: Hamilton Zoo

The calf, which is yet to be named, is the fifth baby rhino to be born at the facility and the seventh to ever be born in New Zealand. Last April a female white rhino calf named Kifaru was born at Hamilton Zoo to first-time mum Moesha.

In the early 1900s white rhinos were on the verge of extinction however thanks to the protection of habitat and animals this species has gone from fewer than 100 animals to over 17,000 in the wild, and they are no longer on the endangered species list.