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.
Photo Credit: Dave Parkinson
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
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.