Small (but Strong) Rhino Calf Debuts at Zoo de Beauval
March 31, 2016
A White Rhino calf was born December 3 at Zoo de Beauval, in France. The young male was born to mom, Satara, and dad, Smoske, and has been given the name Hawii.
Hawii recently took his first steps onto his family’s African Savannah exhibit at the Zoo.
The White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), also known as the “Square-lipped Rhinoceros”, is the largest extant species of rhinoceros. It has a wide mouth used for grazing and is the most social of all rhino species.
The White Rhinoceros is considered to consist of two subspecies: the Southern White Rhinoceros, with an estimated 20,000 wild-living animals as of 2015, and the much rarer Northern White Rhinoceros. The northern subspecies has very few remaining, with only three confirmed individuals left (two females and one male), all in captivity.
White Rhinos are found in grassland and savannah habitat. Herbivore grazers that eat grass, preferring the shortest grains, they are one of the largest pure grazers. They drink twice a day, if water is available. If conditions are dry it can live four or five days without water. Like all species of rhinoceros, White Rhinos love wallowing in mud holes to cool down.
The White Rhinoceros is quick and agile and can run 50 km/h (31 mph), and they prefer to live in “crashes” or herds of up to 14 animals (usually mostly female).
Breeding pairs stay together between 5–20 days before they part their separate ways. Gestation occurs around 16–18 months. A single calf is born and usually weighs between 40 and 65 kg (88 and 143 lb). Calves are unsteady for their first two to three days of life. Weaning starts at about two months, but the calf may continue suckling for over 12 months. The birth interval for the white rhino is between two and three years. Before giving birth, the mother will chase off her current calf. White Rhinos can live to be up to 40–50 years old.
Adult White Rhinos have no natural predators (other than humans) due to their size. Young rhinos are rarely attacked or preyed upon due to the mother's presence and their tough skin.
The White Rhino is currently classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN: “The reason for rating this species as Near Threatened and not Least Concern is due to the continued and increased poaching threat and increasing illegal demand for horn, increased involvement of organized international criminal syndicates in rhino poaching (as determined from increased poaching levels, intelligence gathering by wildlife investigators, increased black market prices and apparently new non-traditional medicinal uses of rhino horn)…One of the main threats to the population is illegal hunting (poaching) for the international rhino horn trade. Rhino horn has two main uses: traditional use in Chinese medicine, and ornamental use (for example, rhino horn is a highly prized material for making ornately carved handles for ceremonial daggers (jambiyas) worn in some Middle East countries).”