Rhino

Buffalo Zoo's Endangered Indian Rhino Calf Is a World First

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The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) and the Buffalo Zoo are excited to announce the birth of a female Indian Rhino calf produced by artificial insemination (AI), and born on June 5. This is the first offspring for a male Rhino who never contributed to the genetics of the Indian Rhino population during his lifetime – a major victory for endangered species around the world and a lifetime of work in the making.

Rhino calf Monica,  Lead  Rhino Keeper Joe Hauser, CREW Reproductive Physiologist Dr. Monica Stoops
Rhino calf Monica and Cryo-Bio Bank
Rhino calf Monica
Photo Credit:  Kelly Brown of the Buffalo Zoo

The father, “Jimmy,” died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2004 and was dead for a decade before becoming a father for the very first time.  During those ten years, Jimmy’s sperm was stored at -320°F in CREW’s CryoBioBank™ (the white tank shown in these photos) in Cincinnati, before it was taken to Buffalo, thawed and used in the AI. 

“We are excited to share the news of Tashi's calf with the world as it demonstrates how collaboration and teamwork among the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) organizations are making fundamental contributions to Rhino conservation,” said Dr. Monica Stoops, Reproductive Physiologist at the Cincinnati Zoo’s CREW. “It is deeply heartening to know that the Cincinnati Zoo's beloved male Indian Rhino Jimmy will live on through this calf and we are proud that CREW's CryoBioBank™ continues to contribute to this endangered species’ survival.”

Tashi, the Buffalo Zoo’s 17-year-old female has previously conceived and successfully given birth through natural breeding in both 2004 and 2008.  Unfortunately, her mate passed away and the Buffalo Zoo’s new male Indian Rhino has not yet reached sexual maturity. Because long intervals between pregnancies in female Rhinos can result in long-term infertility, keepers at the Buffalo Zoo knew it was critical to get Tashi pregnant again and reached out to Dr. Stoops for her expertise.   

In February of 2013, Dr. Stoops worked closely with Buffalo Zoo's Rhino keeper Joe Hauser and veterinarian Dr. Kurt Volle to perform a standing sedation AI procedure on Tashi. Scientifically speaking, by producing offspring from non or under-represented individuals, CREW is helping to ensure a genetically healthy captive population of Indian Rhinos exists in the future.  This is a science that could be necessary for thousands of species across the globe as habitat loss, poaching, and population fragmentation (among other reasons) threaten many with extinction.

Read more about the Rhino calf's amazing story below.

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Another Big Baby For Zoo Miami

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On Sunday May 25th, a Black Rhinoceros was born just after 11:00 pm. This was the 13th successful birth at Zoo Miami for this highly endangered species. Weighing 122 pounds, the female calf was born after an approximately 15 month gestation period. The 14 year old mother, named Circe, was born at the Riverbanks Zoo and arrived at Zoo Miami in 2006. The father, named “Eddie,” is also 14 years old and was born at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Black Rhinos are highly endangered as they continue to be poached at alarming rates in Eastern and Southern Africa. Whereas there used to be over 100,000 running wild in Africa within the past century, those numbers are now down to an estimated 5,000 individuals. They are killed for their horns which are prized in some eastern cultures for medicinal purposes and as status symbols.

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Tampa's Rhino Calf Gets Down and Dirty

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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.

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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 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.

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With the Birth of an Indian Rhino, Zoo Basel Tries a New Approach

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At Zoo Basel in Switzerland, an Indian Rhinoceros gave birth during the night on October 5. The calf, a boy, was given the name Kiran, a Hindi word for 'sunrise'. Kiran is nursing well and bonding well with his mother, 31-year-old Ellora. On his first day, Kiran weighed 150 pounds (68 kg) and stood just over two feet (66 cm) tall. 

Kiran's 3-year-old sister, Henna, was also present for the birth. This was the first time in a European zoo that a Rhinoceros birth has taken place in the presence of an older sibling, as it occurs in nature. Usually, older siblings are moved to a different location when a Rhino is giving birth in captivity, to help ensure the safety of the newborn. Henna was a bit uneasy with the unfamiliar new arrangement, but it didn't take too long for her to adapt. The three now spend most of their time together in the Rhino barn, although Kiran has started to take his first steps outside.

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Photo credits: Zoo Basel

Also out-of-the-ordinary, Ellora also had the freedom to chose where she wanted to give within her habitat. The experienced mom made a good decision, chosing the private shelter of the barn. Kiran is Ellora's eighth calf, and the 34th baby Rhinoceros born at Basel Zoo since 1956 birth of Rudra, the first Rhino ever to be born in a zoo. Since 1990, Basel Zoo has coordinated the European Endangered Species Program for Rhinos, an international effort to coordinate the breeding of healthy Rhinos in zoos. 

The Indian Rhino, also called the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros, lives in the riverine grasslands and forests of India and Nepal.  According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List, the Indian Rhino is a vulnerable species. Though strictly protected, Zoo Basel notes that poaching has increased in recent years. The zoo supports the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 project in Assam, India, a site dedicated to the conservation of the species. 


Lincoln Park Zoo Celebrates Birth of Endangered Eastern Black Rhino

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60 pounds, 30 inches (27 kg, 76 cm): Not your average measurements for a newborn.  But when you’re dealing with a baby Eastern Black Rhino, it’s fair to expect things to be a bit outsized. The 'little' rhino, a boy, was born August 26 at Lincoln Park Zoo in Illinois. He’s the first offspring for 8-year-old mom Kapuki and 27-year-old dad Maku and the first rhinoceros born at the zoo since 1989. Right now he’s growing behind the scenes, where animal care staff are keeping a close watch as the baby bonds with mom.

“Mother and baby are both doing wonderfully,” says Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “The calf divides his time between nursing, following mom around, and napping, and that is exactly what a baby rhino should be doing.”

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Photo credits: Lincoln Park Zoo

Watch a video of mother and calf:

 

The new arrival is a welcome addition for a species that’s facing a conservation crisis in the wild. Black Rhinos are critically endangered and were nearly driven to extinction in the 1990s. Their wild population is currently estimated at 5,055 individuals. Although these creatures are protected, they are still killed illegally for their horns, which are used in folk medicines. 

Rhinos are naturally solitary—and territorial—animals, coming together only for brief intervals to breed. Introductions need to be carefully timed to the female's estrus so that she will be receptive to the male’s approach. The pairing of Kapuki with Maku was recommended by the Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding and management strategy overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

“This birth is cause for great celebration here at Lincoln Park Zoo and has been much anticipated,” says Kamhout. “The gestational period for rhinos is 15-16 months, and they have incredibly small windows for conception. Together with the zoo’s endocrinologists, we worked to pinpoint the exact window for Kapuki and Maku to get together for breeding. The whole zoo family is delighted at this successful outcome.”

So, how exactly do you pinpoint the right time? See and read more after the fold!

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Australia Zoo's Rhino Calf is a Big Boy

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The Australia Zoo welcomed a 150 pound (70 kg) Southern White Rhinoceros calf on May 4. The male baby is steadily gaining weight and now weighs more than 220 pounds (100 kg).

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Photo Credit:  Australia Zoo



The calf was born to parents DJ and Caballe, and is the third Rhino to be born at Australia Zoo. He joins half siblings Mango, born in February, and Savannah, born in 2011. The entire Rhino family can be seen in the zoo’s African Exhibit.

Southern White Rhinos are the most numerous of all Rhino subspecies, with more than 17,000 individuals living in southern Africa. They breed readily in captivity and have been reintroduced into protected areas in southern Africa.


Rare Black Rhino Born at Zoo Krefeld

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In Germany, Zoo Krefeld's Black Rhino couple, Nane and Usoni, gave birth to their fourth baby on July 13. The baby, whose gender is unknown, weighs almost 30 kg, or about 66 pounds. Zoo Krefeld is one of only five zoos in Germany that successfully breed the rare species.

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Black Rhinos, also known as hook-lipped Rhinos, are native to central and eastern Africa. They are one of the largest species of Rhinos, with horns reaching up to 5 feet in length. Despite the name, Black Rhinos generally have light gray or white skin. The species is currently listed as Critically Endangered and is considered to be on the brink of extinction in the wild.

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Photo Credit; 1,4,6,8 Hella Hallman; 2,3,5,7,9 Zoo Krefeld


White Rhino Calf is a First for the Cotswold Wildlife Park

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The first day of the month of July brought a different kind of first for the Cotswold Wildlife Park in the UK. The Park welcomed its very first White Rhino calf in the early hours of the morning. The calf was born to first time parents Nancy and Monty. The family has remained in good health for the first few weeks of the calf's life.

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Parents Monty and Nancy are seven years old. Nancy joined the Park in 2009 from the Mafunyane Game Farm in South Africa. It was hoped that one day, Nancy and Month would successfully breed and produce the Park's first ever White Rhino calf.

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White Rhinos were once the rarest of the five subspecies of Rhinos and were on the verge of extinction in the 1900s. Thanks to conservation efforts, the White Rhino is now the most common of the five subspecies. However, poaching has escalated to serious levels in the past three years due to a demand for rhino horn in market of traditional medicine in Asia.

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Photo credits: Cotswold WIldlife Park 


Rhino Calf Welcomed at Allwetter Zoo

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One and a half years ago, Jane, a 13-year-old Southern White Rhinoceros, came to the Allwetter Zoo in Münster, Germany from the Scottish Blair Drummond Safari Park and was introduced to the zoo’s bull Rhino, Harry.  The two Rhinos got along well and after a 16 month gestation, Jane delivered her first calf, a male, on May 23.

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Photo Credits: Allwetter Zoo

Jane was showing signs of labor early in the morning on that day, so the staff closed the Rhino house to visitors.  To give Jane privacy, the staff watched Jane throughout the day on security cameras that were installed for this exact purpose.  The actual birth process only took about ten minutes.  Jane encouraged her newborn to stand, and he soon was nursing. 

The calf sleeps a lot, but seems to enjoy rustling in the thick bed of straw in the Rhino stall.  Jane is an excellent mother, and follows her new baby like a hawk. 

Southern White Rhinos are the most abundant of all Rhino species, but they are still threatened by poaching for their horns, which are used in traditional medicine.

See more photos of the Rhino calf below the fold.

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A Happy Mother's Day for an Indian Rhino

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Mother’s Day Came early for an endangered Indian Rhinoceros at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. On May 9th—one day before her own birthday, and three days before Mother’s Day—an Indian Rhinoceros named Jamie gave birth to a male calf. The new calf has been given the Indian name Jiyu, meaning “compassionate friend”, by the Zoo’s Asian animal care team. Mother and calf are spending time together off exhibit for the newborn’s safety and for privacy in bonding. After some heavy rains, the two-week old calf loves playing outside in mud puddles.

“This calf represents our third successful offspring in support of the Indian Rhino management program in North America,” says Dr. Larry Killmar, the Zoo’s vice president of animal science. Jamie’s first offspring, a female named Jaya born in 2009, now resides at Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Wichita and the second offspring, a male named Jahi born in 2011, now resides at Central Florida Zoo in Sanford. All three calves were sired by a male rhino named Arjun.

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Indian rhino Jiyu (2)
Photo credits: Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo / David Parkinson 

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Indian Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan (SSP), designed to support the conservation of select wildlife species at risk of extinction. Counting the new male calf, there are just fifty four Indian rhinos in AZA-accredited institutions, with an estimated wild population of no more than 2,850.

Learn and see more after the fold!

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