First Photos of Hours-old Baby Rhino
July 17, 2016
Keepers snapped these photos of a baby Southern White Rhinoceros just hours after it was born at New Zealand’s Hamilton Zoo in June.
The male calf is described as “determined” by his keepers, and an eager feeder from his mother, Kito. This is Kito’s third calf as part of the Hamilton Zoo’s Rhino breeding program. He weighed about 140 pounds at birth.
Named for the Afrikaans word “weit,” which means wide, referring to the animal’s wide mouth, the Southern White Rhino was thought to be extinct in the late 19th century, but in 1895 a small population of less than 100 individuals was discovered in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.
Today, after 121 years of successful protection and management, White Rhinos are classified as Near Threatened in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Although still hunted and poached for their horns, which are believed to have medicinal qualities in some cultures, about 20,000 White Rhinos exist in protected areas and private game reserves. Zoos play their part by showcasing animals as ambassadors for wild populations and conservation projects, as well as providing genetically sound reserve populations.
See more photos of the Rhino calf below.