The San Diego Zoo Safari Park welcomed a new member to the family: a baby rhino.
A southern white rhino calf was born on Nov.21, marking the 100th southern white rhino to be born at the Safari Park, according to San Diego Zoo Global.
And, the calf is already full of energy.
“Just in the last 24 hours, we’ve noticed the calf has a lot of increased activity -- so she’s kind of zooming around the barn and mom’s sort of trying to be a ‘helicopter mom’ and watching her. It’s just really cute to see that dynamic between them and see the calf’s personality really start to come out,” said Jill Van Kempen, Senior Mammal Keeper, San Diego Zoo Safari Park
The calf is a result of artificial insemination, which allows for diversity amongst the rhinos and keeps the rhino mothers at their home without moving them from place to place, according to San Diego Zoo Global. Artificial insemination of rhinos has rarely been successful in the past, in fact, this birth is only the second success story in North America, added San Diego Zoo Global.
The calf’s mother, 11-year-old Amani, is taking on her new role as mom effortlessly.
“Amani is being protective in a good, motherly kind-of-way and the calf is sticking right by her and nursing well and just everything that we could ask for,” said Jill Van Kempen, Senior Mammal Keeper, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
San Diego Zoo Global is on a mission to recover the northern white rhino, as there are only two female northern white rhinos left, according to San Diego Zoo Global. The birth of this calf is a step forward in saving that species.
“She will live her life here at the Rhino Rescue Center where we’ll work with her to eventually become a surrogate to carry the embryos of northern white rhinos. The northern white rhino only has two living representatives now and our initiative is to save that species from the brink of extinction. This calf will play an integral part in that rescue effort,” said Barbara Durrant, Ph.D., Henshaw Chair and Director of Reproductive Sciences, San Diego Zoo Global.
Amani and her new calf will stay together in a private area until they are introduced to the other rhinos at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center, including 4-month-old rhino Edward, according to San Diego Zoo Global.