The Toronto Zoo received a very special present this Christmas!
After a 16-month pregnancy, a white rhinoceros named Zohari gave birth to a male calf on Christmas Eve. The 136-pound newborn calf is doing great, and already has a strong appetite.
“Both mom and baby are doing very well, with reports that mom is very tired but a very calm and protective first-time mom,” the Toronto Zoo wrote on Facebook.
[embedded content] This is the first white rhino to be born at the zoo since 1990. The birth of the white rhino is very important due to their status on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. The species is currently listed as “near threatened.”
The species is commonly poached in the wild due to the appeal of their horns.
“Rhino horn can be worth up to $60,000 US per kilogram on the black market,” according to CBC News.
Currently, there are about 20,000 white rhinos in the wild.
The Toronto Zoo is part of the White Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan. According to the zoo, the plan “aims to establish and maintain healthy, genetically diverse populations, and overall conservation efforts to save this incredible species.”
“Zohari’s genetics are very valuable to the White Rhino Species Survival Plan, which makes this birth particularly significant,” Maria Franke, the curator of mammals at the Toronto Zoo, said in a statement. “Zoo staff were monitoring her 24/7 for several weeks, and their passion and commitment should be commended.
“The Toronto Zoo is working hard to help raise awareness and funds to save this species and other rhinos in the wild.”
Zohari and her unnamed calf are currently in an indoor maternity area that is closed off to the public. See the pair hanging out together below.
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