I usually don’t like zoos, but this story melted my heart. The Toronto Zoo announced that an 11-year-old female Indian rhinoceros, Asha, gave birth to a male calf, a few weeks ago.
The recent birth is very important for the species conservation, as Indian rhinoceros are currently listed as “vulnerable” on the International IUCN (Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species) and there are only about 2,000 left in the wild.
The zoo says that the rhino went through a pregnancy of about 16 months. Inmid-January was moved from public viewing into a maternity area. It says her baby calf appears to be healthy and eating well, but its first month will be critical.
This is the first surviving baby for the mother rhino. Asha gave birth to a stillborn calf in 2011, and then had trouble maintaining pregnancy. In order to help the mother rhino to maintain this latest pregnancy, the zoo says it gave oral progesterone, a steroid hormone, and it worked.
This collaborative research resulted in the birth of this healthy cute calf and will strengthen conservation breeding efforts.
Maria Franke, Curator of Mammals, Toronto Zoo, said that Asha is on a breeding loan from L.A. Zoo, and it is these partnerships will bring us one step closer to overall conservation efforts to save this incredible species. She also thanked to the amazing team at the Toronto Zoo for their hard work and dedication that has resulted in this special birth.
According to CBC News, this is the fourth birth of an Indian Rhinoceros in this zoo, and the first one in more than 16 years. The last Indian Rhinoceros that was born at this zoo was a female rhino named Sanya (born August 14, 1999), who is now placed at The Wilds in Ohio, USA. Hopefully there will be plenty more in the future.
In this video you can see this cute baby rhino. Look at the way his little ears tuck back when he’s getting ready to sleep! How cute is that? I can just say good luck to this baby rhino, and have a happy life in the wild.