The Zoological Center Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan recently shared their excitement about the birth of their 28th Rhinoceros calf!
On August 24th, Tanda, a 23-year old White Rhino, gave birth to a healthy male calf. The Safari also recently announced the name chosen for the new boy. He has been named Tupak (meaning “warrior”).
A few days before giving birth, keepers noted that Tanda's udders had filled out, and she began to distance herself from her two-year old daughter, Tashi. Zookeepers realized that the birth was close and took her to an open area of the Rhino’s yard, nicknamed the "nursery". This yard is shaded and pleasant, surrounded by thick shrubbery. This semi-private area enables all the Rhinos and other animals to see Tanda and smell her, but it also allows her some distance and privacy.
The birth passed uneventfully and a healthy Rhino calf entered the world, with all vital signs looking good. Tanda has been in the nursery with her baby, carefully tending to him and feeding him. Keepers put the other animals' food close to the nursery yard, so that they'll gradually get used to the new addition to the group.
This is Tanda’s fourth offspring since arriving at the Safari 13 years ago, and she is always a devoted mother. The new baby has been getting used to frequent interaction with Zookeepers, as Tanda receives routine eye treatments (necessary due to the chronic eye infection from which she suffers).
In another week or two, Tupak and mom, Tanda, will leave the nursery and join the rest of their herd in the open area of their exhibit.
During the last few years, the Safari Zoological Center Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan has become one of the leading facilities for breeding Rhinos, thanks to the weather and excellent conditions similar to those of their native habitat in Africa. The success is also due to smart decisions, taken in the last few years, regarding the management of the Safari's Rhino population.
The White Rhinoceros or Square-lipped Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) is the largest extant species of rhino. 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 more rare Northern White Rhinoceros. The northern subspecies has very few remaining, with only three confirmed individuals left (two females Fatu, 15 and Najin, 25 and one male Sudan, 42), all in captivity.
Gestation lasts around 16–18 months. Usually, a single calf is born and will weigh between 40 and 65 kg (88 and 143 lb). Calves are unsteady for their first two to three days of life. When threatened, the baby will run in front of the mother, who is very protective of her calf and will fight for it vigorously. 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-three years. Before giving birth, the mother will usually chase off her current calf. White Rhinos can live to be up to 40–50 years old.
The Southern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum ssp. simum) subspecies is currently classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, the Northern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum ssp. cottoni) is classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN.