Friday, October 31, 2014 Headlines & Global News

Endangered Black Rhino Born At Chicago Zoo; Only 5,055 Left In The Wild (VIDEO)

By Rebekah Marcarelli r.marcarelli@hngn.com | Sep 02, 2013 05:17 PM EDT

The baby weighs a hefty 66 pounds.
The baby weighs a hefty 66 pounds. (Photo : Lincoln Park Zoo)

An endangered black rhino has been born at a Chicago zoo.

The "little" guy is 30 inches long, and weighs a hefty (for a newborn) sixty pounds, a Lincoln Park Zoo press release reported.

He was born to eight-year-old mom Kapuki and 27-year-old dad Maku. He is the first rhinoceros to be born in the zoo since the 1980s.

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The rhinos are on the verge of extinction, there are only 5,055 of them left in the wild. The animals are hunted for their large horns, which are falsely believed to have medical value. They are used in Asia to (supposedly) reduce fevers and cure hangovers.

Rhinos are usually loners, and are aggressive towards their fellow species. Breeding is difficult because the timing must be perfect in order for the female to accept the male.

Zoo endocrinologists examined the female's feces. They took the hormone data and Kapuki's behavior in order to determine when she was in estrus.

Rhinos have an extremely long pregnancy. Pregnancies last for 14 to 18 months, and weaning takes two years, Reuters reported.

The baby will be left to bond with his mother in private for the next few weeks, and then will be available for public viewing.

Another baby black rhino was born at Atlanta zoo earlier this month for the first time in the facility's history, Reuters reported.

"Not only is this a first for Zoo Atlanta, going all the way back to our founding in 1889, but this is a critically endangered species that absolutely deserves the spotlight right now," Raymond King, the zoo's president, said in a statement. "We hope that as we watch the calf grow up, we can spark new connections with wildlife that desperately need our support."

The wild black rhino population was at 65,000 in 1970, but had drastically declined by 1980. The Western black rhino was deemed extinct in 2011.

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