Welcome to the world, little one! The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has welcomed a male southern white rhino calf. He was born at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center on August 6 to first-time mom Livia, and father J Gregory. The baby does not have a name just yet.
The calf was conceived through natural breeding. Wildlife care specialists say he’s healthy, confident, and full of energy. They say Livia is an excellent mother, very attentive and protective of her baby.
“All rhino births are significant, and this calf’s birth represents an essential step in San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Northern White Rhino Initiative, showing Livia can carry a calf to term and care for her offspring,” the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance said in a press release. “This is vitally important, as Livia is now among the female rhinos at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center who could potentially serve in the future as a surrogate mother to a northern white embryo.”
The Northern White Rhino
Only two northern white rhinos remain on Earth. Najin and Fatu are at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Both are females and cannot reproduce naturally. The last remaining male died in 2018, effectively rendering the entire subspecies extinct.
The northern white rhino is one of two subspecies of the white rhinoceros.
Saving The Northern White Rhino
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Northern White Rhino Initiative is dedicated to saving the northern white rhino through innovative reproductive technologies. That includes artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and embryo transfer.
At the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center, an interdisciplinary team made up of wildlife care and health teams, reproductive physiologists, and geneticists are working with southern white rhinos as a model for developing these advanced reproductive technologists. The ultimate goal is to establish a sustainable population of northern white rhinos using banked genetic material from the Frozen Zoo, a critical component of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Biodiversity Banking efforts.
The work being done to conserve the northern white rhino may also be applied to other rhino species, including critically endangered Sumatran and Javan rhinos.
About San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance is an international, nonprofit conservation organization with two front doors: the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Its mission is to save species worldwide by uniting expertise in animal care and conservation science.