A rare white rhino has been born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.
The baby male rhino is being cared for by her mother, Kendi, who was the first rhino born at the park in 1999, KTVZ reports. Father Dugan was paired with Kendi in accordance with a Species Survival Plans overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Kendi’s pregnancy lasted 16 months.
The successful birth, a 150-pound baby white rhino, marks the 11th white rhino born at the park.
“Calf and mother are doing well under the keepers’ watchful eyes. While rhinos are gregarious by nature; for now, the calf is resting, nursing and bonding with his mom,” reported Walt Disney World News. “The yet-to-be-named rhino is expected to join the “crash” – the term for a group of rhinos – on the theme park’s savanna in the coming weeks. Guests aboard the park’s Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction will then have a chance to see the calf in its habitat.”
Two other rhinos at the park are expected to give birth in 2021.
The white rhinoceros is one of the only rhino species that is not classified as endangered, but with only around 20,000 alive in the world they are extraordinarily special.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, white rhinos are threatened by poachers who slaughter them for their horns. Most of these killings have occurred in South Africa in recent years, where stronger anti-poaching efforts have been called in to address.
“Once common across southern Africa, southern white rhinos were thought to be extinct in the late 19th century, but in 1895 a small population of less than 100 individuals was discovered in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa,” WWF reports. “After more than a century of successful protection and management, they are now classified as Near Threatened and over 20,000 animals exist in protected areas and private game reserves. “The majority (98.8%) of white rhinos occur in just four countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya.”
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