Escondido, California - A 3-week-old greater one-horned rhino calf received a morning bottle feeding at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. After his feeding, he ventured out of his nursery stall for some fresh air and exercise with his keepers. The male calf, yet to be named, was born on Nov. 27 to first-time mother Kaya in the Safari Park’s Asian Plains exhibit.
The calf was small at birth, weighing about 160 pounds (the average birth weight for this species is 160 to 176 pounds). While Kaya nursed and cared for her newborn for almost two weeks, keepers monitoring the calf realized he wasn’t gaining weight as he should. To provide the calf with the optimal care to thrive, he was taken to the Safari Park’s animal care center where he is watched around-the-clock and bottle-fed every two hours.
Since the calf is being raised in a nursery setting, it is important for him to get daily exercise. After only a week in the nursery, the little rhino is growing stronger and gaining weight at almost four pounds a day. He currently weighs 190 pounds and when full grown can weigh between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds. Visitors to the Safari Park may see the baby rhino at the animal care center nursery corral between 12:15 and 12:45 p.m. daily, weather permitting, when he is brought out to exercise.
Once widespread in Southeast Asia, the greater one-horned rhinoceros is now found only in India and Nepal. This species is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to poaching threats and the illegal use of rhino horn. Worldwide, a rhino dies every 8 hours due to poaching. There are an estimated 3,250 greater one-horned rhinos remaining in the wild. This calf is the 68th greater one-horned rhino born at the Safari Park since 1975, making the Park the foremost breeding facility in the world for this species.
Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts representing both plants and animals at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The important conservation and science work of these entities is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.