Watch: A rare southern white rhino calf has been born at San Diego Zoo
The calf’s conception via artificial insemination could prove a boon for another distant subspecies.
A rare southern white rhino has been born at San Diego Zoo after it was conceived through artificial insemination.
It is the first time the species has been successfully birthed in this way – which involved using hormone-induced ovulation – in North America.
Mother Victoria gave birth to the calf on Sunday after a 30-minute labour and the zoo reports that the calf is nursing well.
Victoria was inseminated using frozen semen from another southern white rhino, Maoto, in March 2018, and she carried the calf for 493 days.
Southern white rhinos are near threatened in the wild, but significantly the birth could help scientists to save another distant subspecies, the northern white rhino – of which there are only two left on Earth and both are female.
“We are so pleased Victoria and the calf are doing well,” said the zoo’s Barbara Durrant.
“She is very attentive to her baby, and the calf is up and walking, and nursing frequently.
“Not only are we thankful for a healthy calf, but this birth is significant, as it also represents a critical step in our effort to save the northern white rhino from the brink of extinction.”