A female southern white rhinoceros calf was born at Busch Gardens Tampa this week. The calf is healthy and is currently being cared for by its mother with the Busch Gardens animal care team watching closely.
Newborn white rhinoceros usually weigh about 68kg and can gain 2kg every day for the first year. White rhinos are the second largest land mammal after the elephant, and can weigh as much as 2,268kg when fully grown – that’s heavier than a 1CX JCB digger!
The southern white rhinoceros is classified as a near-threatened species with just over 20,000 left in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
Kisiri is an experienced mother. She has had two successful births previously. The father, Tambo, has been very attentive to his previous calves and the zoological team expect him to behave similarly with this calf.
Multiple cameras were installed around the birthing area, allowing caretakers to keep an even closer eye on mum Kisiri and record the calf’s first moments. Fans can watch the video online here.
Kisiri and her calf are continuing to be monitored by the animal care staff in the birthing area and are expected to join the rest of the southern white rhinoceros herd on the Serengeti Plain in a few weeks.
Kisiri’s calf is part of Busch Gardens’ participation in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). The mission of the SSP is to cooperatively manage specific species populations within AZA-accredited facilities.
Guests can try to catch a glimpse of mum and her calf by booking a Serengeti Safari at www.seaworldparks.co.uk.