Lee Richardson Zoo is elated to announce that Johari, a critically endangered black rhinoceros who lives at the zoo, gave birth to a healthy baby boy at approximately 1:30 p.m. on January 20th. Mother and baby are both doing well. This is the first black rhinoceros born at Lee Richardson Zoo.
The delivery was very smooth for first time mother Johari. Her baby made his first attempts to stand shortly after birth and first nursed 4 hours after entering the world. Mother and baby will spend some private time indoors bonding until conditions are appropriate for them to go outside. Staff will be monitoring the calf’s growth and other developmental milestones as well as mom’s recovery and maternal behavior. The zoo will share video updates via its website and Facebook page. Father, Jabari, who was outside at the time of the delivery, seems unphased by the addition which makes sense since black rhinos are somewhat solitary animals and the males do not participate in raising their young.
Ten-year-old Johari and her mate, seven-year-old Jabari, came to the zoo in 2016 from Cleveland MetroParks Zoo and Zoo Atlanta respectively on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Eastern Black Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan (SSP). Lee Richardson Zoo is proud to work with the other participants in the SSP toward the goal of genetically and demographically healthy populations, the long-term sustainability of populations, and enhancing the conservation of the species in the wild through combined efforts and cooperative management of the population.
Eastern black rhinos are native to eastern Africa (Kenya and Tanzania). They are listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). They are the rarest of the three remaining black rhino subspecies with approximately 740 left in 2018. Poaching for their horn continues to be their biggest threat. Conservation and management efforts have resulted in a slow increase in population numbers in recent years.