It’s always great news at a zoo when a new baby animal is born, but it’s especially great when they’re a member of an endangered species. Each new birth is a step towards ensuring their survival from extinction.
Now, the Kansas City Zoo is celebrating the birth of a newborn eastern black rhinoceros — a critically endangered species with only a few hundred individuals left in the world.
The zoo announced that the baby arrived on December 31, a highly anticipated first birth from new mom Zuri, along with her mate Ruka. The zoo reported that both mother and child are doing well.
“The rhinos’ animal care specialists report the calf is walking, nursing, and even playing spar, and that Zuri is a patient and attentive first-time mother,” the zoo wrote on Facebook.
The zoo is giving them some space to bond privately in their barn with limited human interaction. Once they have had some alone time, zoo vets will perform a neonatal exam to confirm the baby’s gender and health.
The eastern black rhino is listed as “critically endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. They are threatened by illegal poaching and habitat loss.
There are now only about 740 left in the wild, and just 53 in Association of Zoos & Aquariums accredited facilities. It is the rarest remaining black rhino species, and can only be found in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. The rarity of eastern black rhinos makes this birth even more special.
Black rhinos have a gestation period of about 15-16 months. It is the first child for both Zuri and Ruka, who arrived at the zoo from the Oregon Zoo in 2018, on the recommendation of AZA’s Species Survival Plan.
What great news — not only is this little rhino adorable but it’s an inspiring step forward for one of the world’s most critically endangered species.
Please share this amazing news if you love rhinos!