The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (SDZWA) has another reason to be excited for September 22nd’s World Rhino Day.
According to a release from the nonprofit, SDZWA’s San Diego Safari Park recently welcomed a female southern white rhino calf. First-time mom Kianga gave birth to the baby rhino at the park on August 22.
“We are delighted to welcome this calf to the Safari Park’s crash of southern white rhinos,” Lisa Peterson, an executive director at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, said in a statement. “Babies are always delightful — cute and fun to watch grow — but more importantly, they serve as ambassadors for their species. Seeing a rhino up close allows our guests to connect with them, with the hope they gain a greater appreciation for them, and the vitally important need to conserve and protect rhinos and their native habitats.”
Born weighing around 125 pounds, the unnamed rhino calf has been growing at a healthy rate and is expected to gain about 100 pounds a month for the first year. She enjoys running around her 60-acre African Savanna habitat at the park and has started getting curious about the other animals she shares the space with.
Mom is keeping a protective eye on her daughter and is nursing well. Kianga’s calf is the 104th southern white rhino calf born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park since 1972. Each rhino’s birth at the park is a cause for celebration for the SDZWA because it helps with the conservation of all southern white rhino by keeping the species genetically diverse.
“There are an estimated 18,000 southern white rhinos remaining in Africa. The southern white rhino is classified as Near Threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, due to poaching threats and illegal trafficking of rhino horn,” the SDZWA shared in their release. “San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has been working for more than 40 years, along with other accredited zoos, to keep a sustainable population of rhinos safe under human care while working to protect them in sanctuaries in their native habitats.”
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