- Created on Tuesday, 05 March 2013 20:32
- Written by Imperial Valley News
San Diego, California - Kayode, an eight-day-old male southern white rhino, is taking "charge" of his habitat at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, as long as his mother is around to protect him. The youngster spent the morning exploring all the fun the 55-acre East African Plains enclosure has to offer but stayed close to his mother while doing so.
Kayode, which means "he brings joy" in the West African language of Yoruba, was born the afternoon of Feb. 25 in full view of keepers and the public. The calf weighed an estimated 125 pounds at birth and keepers report he is very healthy and is developing on track. Kayode is estimated to gain 100 pounds a month for the first year, and when full grown can weigh between 4,000 to 5,000 pounds.
"Kayode is a little tank, a very cute little tank, and he is showing lots of personality," said Jane Kennedy, lead keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. "He loves running and interacting with his mom, sticking out his tongue, and showing the buffalo in his enclosure he's a rhino and he's in charge." Kennedy also added first-time mother Kacy is an excellent mom and very protective of her offspring.
The rhino calf and mom can best be seen roaming their habitat from the Park's Africa Tram Safari, a Caravan Safari, Balloon Safari or from the hiking trail at Kilima Point in the late afternoon.
The southern white rhino is classified as "near threatened" due to poaching threats and illegal use of rhino horn; currently a rhino dies every 11 hours due to poaching. There are an estimated 20,000 southern white rhinos remaining in the wild. Kayode is the 93rd southern white rhino calf born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the 6th, 3rd-generation calf born.
The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The Conservancy makes possible the wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) of the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.