It’s a boy! The Virginia Zoo has announced the historic birth of its first-ever Southern white rhinoceros.
The calf was born on July 11 to mom Zina, and dad, Sibindi. The baby rhino is doing well end getting stronger for every day.
According to The Virginia Zoo, the calf weighed 1525 Ibs and was 22” tall at birth.
From the moment Zina gave birth, she has shown signs of good mothering instincts and has been very attentive to her calf. Animal care staff have reported the calf is strong, nursing well and bonding with mom.
“This is a historic event for the Zoo as this calf is the first of its species to be born at the Virginia Zoo, but also for first-time mom, Zina. From the moment she gave birth, she has shown signs of good mothering instincts and has been very attentive to her calf,” the Zoo said in a release.
16-18 months of gestation
The gestation period for a rhino is 16-18 months, so Zina’s zookeepers and the whole Animal Care Team have been anticipating this birth for a long time. Zina’s pregnancy lasted 16 months and 21 days.
“The pregnancy was confirmed via ultrasound in February,” said Dr. Tara Reilly in a release from the Zoo.
“We were able to give some general time frames, but this last month became very apparent we were in the birth window.”
The Animal Care Team worked together to make a birth plan for Zina. The plan included everything from routine checkups, diet changes, training Zina for voluntary weekly blood draws and voluntary milk collection.
“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome this baby, who will serve as an ambassador to its species in the wild,” said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo and continued:
“Because of the demand for their horns, rhinos are often killed daily. A baby animal’s cuteness piques the interest of everyone, but then we are able to share their conservation story and the ways we can protect their species.”
As per NBC12, The Virginia Zoo now has four rhinos with the latest addition. The others include Sibindi, 18, Zina, 8 and Bora, 7.
Looking for a name
Now the newborn baby rhino needs a name. The Virginia Zoo is auctioning off the naming rights for the baby rhino, and all proceeds will be donated to the International Rhino Foundation.The public can place bids on the calf’s name through July 30.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified the Southern white rhino as near-threatened due to threats in the wild due to habitat loss and illegal poaching of their horns.
We are very happy to hear about the baby rhino’s safe birth.
Please share this article to send your best wishes and let’s hope this will inspire people to help protect this species and their habitats.