The Eastern Black Rhinoceros born last month at Lincoln Park Zoo in Illinois is making great strides. (See our first story about the birth here.) Recently, the calf, who now weighs 200 pounds, made his public debut at the zoo’s Harris Family Foundation Black Rhinoceros Exhibit with his mother, Kapuki. The calf also has also been named: King, after King Harris, who is longtime patron of the zoo.
Eastern Black Rhinos are a subspecies of the Black Rhinoceros, which are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Eastern Black Rhinos were nearly driven to extinction in the 1990s. They are a major target for poachers, mainly due to a misconception in some cultures that their horns have medicinal value. Recent estimates put the total number of wild Black Rhinos at around 5,000. The Western Black Rhino, another subspecies, was declared extinct earlier this year.
“King will serve as an excellent ambassador for his species,” said Lincoln Park Zoo Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout.