Endangered Eastern Black Rhino Born In Atlanta Zoo

A zoo in Atlanta, Zoo Atlanta, welcomed a new baby rhino into their facility this past weekend, the first ever born in the zoo’s history.

According to USA Today, the calf was born Saturday and appears to be healthy.

THe Huffington Post reported that the calf’s sex has not been determined, and it has not been named.

The endangered Eastern black rhinoceros was born to Andazi, a 7-year-old female, and her 9-year-old mate, Utenzi.

“Not only is this a first for Zoo Atlanta, going all the way back to our founding in 1889, but this is a critically endangered species that absolutely deserves the spotlight right now,” Raymond King, the zoo’s president, said in a statement.

“We hope that as we watch the calf grow up, we can spark new connections with wildlife that desperately need our support.”

According to MSN News, the Eastern black rhino was hunted almost to extinction, and in recent decades it has suffered near-catastrophic population declines, largely due to poaching.

Its horns, skin, and other body parts are believed by some to have medicinal value.

The report continued on to say that the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo stated that black rhinos were once the most numerous of the species, but that isn’t the case anymore.

Their numbers have been dwindling, but the positive news is that conservation programs and close patrolling of the rhino’s habitats have helped populations to increase to about 4,800 in the wild.

That’s not a lot… but it is still an improvement. The western black rhino was declared extinct in 2011.

Which is why the news of this little baby rhino is so positive.

The calf was the first offspring of the two rhino’s after they had been recommended for breeding by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Rhino Species Survival Plan, “which seeks to maintain a genetically diverse, self-sustaining rhino population in North American zoos,” according to the Huffington Post.

The new baby rhino born at Zoo Atlantic will have time alone to bond with its mother before being released for public viewing.

[Image by GollyGforce via Wikimedia Commons]