The Eastern Black Rhinoceros calf at Lincoln Park Zoo had access to his outdoor habitat at Regenstein African Journey recently, making his zoo debut!
The calf appeared eager to explore the new sights, scents, and sounds, but was hesitant to explore his outdoor habitat. After a few steps, he ran back inside to be near his mother, Kapuki.
ZooBorns shared news of the new arrival in a previous feature: Black Rhino Boy Born at Lincoln Park Zoo. Since his birth on May 19, the calf and Kapuki (age 13) have been bonding behind the scenes at the zoo's Regenstein African Journey.
“The rhino calf has continually surpassed numerous milestones and is becoming inquisitive of his surroundings,” said Curator of Mammals Mike Murray. “It’s exciting to see that curiosity shine through as he begins to explore his outdoor habitat.”
Lincoln Park Zoo is dedicated to rhino conservation and is home to three adult rhinos: Maku, Kapuki, and Ricko, along with its newest arrival.
“The Eastern Black Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan® (SSP) among accredited zoos is vitally important to this remarkable species, as numbers continue to dwindle in the wild due to poaching,” said Murray. “This calf not only represents hope for the species, but also serves as an ambassador for his wild counterparts.”
While the calf made his recent debut, rhino access to the outdoor habitat is weather dependent. For the health and safety of Kapuki and the calf, they will have the choice to explore their outdoor habitat if the weather is above 60 degrees, and dry, until the calf grows in size and strength. While the rhinos may have outdoor access, they may also choose to spend their time behind-the-scenes as they continue to adjust to the new changes.
Gestation for Eastern Black Rhinos is about 14-16 months with offspring weighing around 75 pounds at birth. Typically, Black Rhinos are a solitary species that only come together to breed. When full grown, Eastern Black Rhinos can stand up to 12 feet long and 5 feet tall at the shoulder, and can weigh up to 3,000 pounds. They are a critically endangered species due to poaching for their horns, which are believed to have medicinal benefits despite being made of keratin – the same material that makes up human hair and nails.
For more rhino updates, follow Lincoln Park Zoo’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels and #RhinoWatch, along with the zoo blog and ZooMail, a biweekly news digest.
For more information about the species and Lincoln Park Zoo’s rhino conservation efforts, visit lpzoo.org. Those interested in helping care for mom and calf all year long may ADOPT a black rhino at lpzoo.org/adopt.