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Thank Heaven for Not-So-Little Girls


After 20 years of eager anticipation, the Zoological Center Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan (Safari), can now say they are home to a female White Rhino calf!  



0770_2014_08_15_020Photo Credits: Tibor Jager

Twenty-one year old mother, Tanda, gave birth to the 100 lb. calf on September 3rd.  The new little girl has been given the name Teshi, which is Swahili for ‘joyful and happy’.  The new name is the perfect moniker, as she has already brought much joy to the staff and visitors of the Safari!

Zookeepers closely monitored the mother and noticed her marked weight gain and other indicators of the impending birth.  Tanda, who suffers from chronic inflammation of her eye, had spent the last few months in a fenced-off enclosure in the African Savannah exhibit area to enable her to receive regular medical treatment.

Till now, Tanda’s youngest son, Terkel, was in the enclosure with her, but as her time of birth approached, she tried to distance him from the area.  Keepers helped her by moving her young son out and allowing her the space she desired.

In the end, Tanda gave birth at night, and zookeepers discovered the new baby the next morning.  Within a few minutes, they managed to identify the calf as female.

Rami Tam, Supervisor of the African Savannah area, said, “It’s been 20 years since a female rhino was born here, and the significance is that she will be able to stay with us in the Safari also after she matures, and that’s the cause for much joy!”

During recent years, two males were born in the Safari: Tibor and Terkel.  When they mature, they will be transferred to other zoos that participate in the White Rhino Reproduction Project.  The little female rhino just born will remain in the Safari, and continue the zoological center's dynasty.

More great photos and info below the fold!

The White Rhino is native to the African continent, and 98.8% of them are found in four countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.

The White Rhino is not actually white, but its name is derived from a misinterpretation of the Dutch ‘wijde’ (‘wide’ in English), due to the width of the rhino’s mouth.  There are 20,000 White Rhinos left, and they have been categorized as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List. Illegal poaching of rhinos has increased in South Africa alone from 83 rhinos in 2008 to 1,004 rhinos in 2013. Most of the poaching is carried out within the nature reserves! During 2014, as of August 14, 658 rhinos had already been hunted.