Black rhino born at Blank Park Zoo10/17/2016
Officials from Iowa’s Blank Park Zoo announced today that Ayana, a 6-year-old eastern black rhino, has given birth to an 80-pound female calf.
“This is an extremely significant event – not only in Blank Park Zoo’s 50 year history, but also for this critically endangered animal species,” said Mark Vukovich, Blank Park Zoo CEO.
The birth occurred Oct. 11 at approximately 11:23 a.m. Within the first hour, the calf was standing and walking. By two hours old, the calf was attempting to feed — all positive signs of a healthy baby rhino calf.
Fewer than 1,000 eastern black rhinos remain when you combine wild and captive populations. Only two have been born in the United States this year and a total of seven in zoos worldwide.
“The eastern black rhino is at a ‘tipping point’ in the wild — meaning that deaths, mostly due to poaching, will soon outnumber births,” said Kevin Drees, director of animal care and conservation. “The captive zoo population plays a role in survival of the species, and Blank Park Zoo has partnered with the International Rhino Foundation to secure the species future. This celebrated birth should raise awareness and bring attention to this critical wildlife situation.
A name for the calf has not been announced. Blank Park Zoo will be offering a fund raising opportunity for a chance to name the baby rhino. More information will be released shortly on how to participate.
Zoo officials have stated that the baby rhino will not be viewable on exhibit to allow for mom and baby bonding time. Zoo officials will release pictures, video and live webcams on its Facebook page located at www.facebook.comlankparkzoo. Video recorded of the birth is available on the Zoo’s YouTube channel located at www.youtube.com/blankparkzoo.
A pair of rhinos came to Blank Park Zoo in late 2012 as part of the Jamaa Kwa Africa addition to the Zoo.
The black rhinoceros has been named one of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums 10 SAFE species. Learn more here: https://www.aza.org/SAFE-black-rhino
Pictures and Videos, including video of the birth located here: https://goo.gl/t0h8Bu