Meet Zoo Miami’s newest resident
One, two, three: Awwww.
A new baby just arrived at Zoo Miami.
Officials announced the first ever successful birth of an incredibly rare greater one horned rhinoceros. The baby rhino was born Tuesday, the result of a induced ovulation and artificial insemination.
The gender is not clear yet, zoo spokesman Ron Magill told the Miami Herald.
It’s tiny now, but the greater one-horned rhino is the second biggest of the rhino species and usually weighs between 4,000 to 6,000 pounds.
They said it’s only the second successful birth of this rare species in the zoo’s history.
Natural breeding wasn’t working, says the zoo, so a special team of animal reproductive specialists came in from the South East Zoo Alliance for Reproduction and Conservation (SEZARC), which specializes in endangered species.
The crew artificially collected semen from the father, Suru, on Jan. 8, 2018. The following day they artificially inseminated the mother, Akuti.
Magill explained the complicated procedure:
“With the artificial insemination, we had to first collect the semen from the male. Once that was done, we had to immobilize the female so that there would be no danger to the veterinarians who then carefully used an instrument that is inserted vaginally and placed up against the cervix where the semen is then deposited,” he said. “The challenge is that it has to be timed precisely to her ovulation which was also induced. As it turned out, our timing was perfect.”
Once officials were able to confirm that Akuti had indeed conceived, she was trained to receive regular ultrasound examinations which enabled staff to closely monitor the development of the fetus, reads a release. Because the exact date of conception was known, they were able to accurately estimate the birth date.
For the last several days, Akuti has been under 24-hour observation “awaiting this very exciting event,” according to a zoo statement, which adds that “Initial indications are that the newborn is healthy and doing well.”
More tests will be conducted when the staff can safely separate the infant from its “very protective mother.”
At just a few hours old, it was able to stand on its own and take a few steps around mom.
“It is critical that the mother and newborn are able to establish a bond which can sometimes be a challenge for first-time mothers.”
Zoo officials said there are less than 3,000 Indian rhinos left in the wild.
“This very rare birth is not only significant for Zoo Miami, it is incredibly important to the international efforts to maintain a healthy population under human care of this highly vulnerable species throughout the world.”
Not yet, says Magill, who adds there will be a naming opportunity made available “in an effort to raise funds for continued zoo support.”