Cumberland, OH—The Wilds is proud to welcome a greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) calf, who was born at the conservation center on Saturday, August 24, 2019. The female calf is receiving excellent care from her mother and is the eighth greater one-horned rhino to be born at The Wilds. The birth is a significant achievement as the species nearly went extinct during the 20th century.
The calf and mom, Sanya, are doing well and have been bonding in pasture on The Wilds property. The Animal Management team has been monitoring the pair closely and has not needed to provide any immediate assistance as Sanya is an experienced mother and the calf appears to be strong and healthy. Calves usually weigh more than 100 pounds at birth and gain a few pounds every day. An adult greater one-horned rhino can reach weights of approximately 4,000 to 6,000 pounds.
Sanya, born at the Toronto Zoo in 1999, has now given birth to five calves since arriving at The Wilds in 2004. The calf’s father, Jahi, was born at Zoo Tampa in 2011, moved to the Central Florida Zoo in 2013 and then arrived at The Wilds in 2017 as per a breeding recommendation through the Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to maintain genetic diversity of threatened and endangered species in human care. This newborn is Jahi’s first offspring.
The Wilds, home to three greater one-horned rhinos, is one of only 30 facilities in North America to care for this species. The Wilds is also home to 15 southern white rhinos. In total, more than 500 animals representing 28 species from around the world make up the animal population at the open-range, natural landscape at The Wilds.
Once listed as an endangered species, the greater one-horned rhino has seen a steady population increase thanks to strict government protection and is now listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species™ as vulnerable. According to the World Wildlife Fund, there were only 600 individuals surviving in their native ranges of India and Nepal by 1975. Since then, researchers estimate the population has grown to exceed 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos living in these areas.
“We are thrilled to welcome this little rhinoceros into our Wilds family! Every rhinoceros is important to the survival of their species. While there has been some success in rhinoceros conservation recently, unfortunately, there are still threats to all rhino species. They are being poached for their horn, even though it is made only of keratin— the equivalent of fingernails—and they are facing habitat destruction in their native ranges. We are proud to be able to contribute to rhino conservation by welcoming this incredible new arrival, as the calf represents hope for future generations of greater one-horned rhinos,” said Dr. Jan Ramer, vice president of The Wilds.
The new calf may be visible to guests during either an Open-Air Safari or Wildside Tour. The Wilds is currently open daily through September and then weekends only in October.
For more information about The Wilds or to book your visit, please visit https://thewilds.columbuszoo.org/home.