The Denver Zoo recently welcomed a very special arrival, a greater one-horned rhino calf. The zoo’s resident female rhino, 13-year-old Tensing, gave birth to the unnamed calf on February 22.
According to zoo staff, the mother and female calf are “doing very well” and already bonding.
The birth of Tensing’s calf marks the first time a rhino has been born at the zoo.
“The birth of this calf is the result of a truly heroic effort by our animal care, health and science teams and partners from other zoos to support the species,” Brian Aucone, Senior Vice President for Animal Sciences, said in a statement.
The birth of Tensing’s calf was a long time coming.
From 2014 to 2018, Dr. Anneke Moresco, the zoo’s reproductive specialist, along with Dr. Monica Stoops of the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife at the Cincinnati Zoo attempted to artificially inseminate Tensing 11 times.
In late 2018 they attempted to inseminate Tensing a twelfth time with sperm from a 10-year-old rhino from a zoo in Omaha and a week and a half later a voluntary ultrasound revealed she was pregnant.
“Tensing’s journey from pregnancy to motherhood exemplifies the care our team provides to ensure our animals are able to voluntarily participate in their own medical care,” Assistant Pachyderm Curator Lindsey Kirkman said.
Tensing’s calf means there are now 83 greater one-horned rhinos living in North American facilities as part of the Greater One-Horned Rhino Species Survival Plan, a program which helps ensures a healthy and diverse population to safeguard the species’ survival.
Congratulations to Tensing on her new baby and congratulations to the Denver Zoo on the birth of their first rhino!
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