Blank Park Zoo's family of endangered eastern black rhinos just grew by 112 pounds
Blank Park Zoo's 9-year-old eastern black rhino Ayana gave birth to her second daughter on April 5, 2019. The rhino calf was walking and nursing within about two hours — signs of a healthy baby, the zoo said. Adam Wilson, Wochit
Blank Park Zoo's Ayana, a nine-year-old eastern black rhino, kicked off last weekend by giving birth to her second daughter.
The rhino calf was born at 4:24 p.m. Friday, and was walking and nursing within about two hours — signs of a healthy baby, the zoo said.
“Ayana is a very attentive and protective mother and taking very good care of the calf,” said Shannon McKinney, director of animal care. The nameless calf weighs 112 pounds, considerably bigger than her sister, Tumani, who was 80 pounds at birth (but neared 1,000 pounds by her first birthday).
Tumani will turn 3 in October. Ayana and the father, Kiano, made history in 2016 when their breeding efforts resulted in the first confirmed fertilization among the critically endangered species' zoo population in two years.
The species is endangered primarily due to poaching. Less than 1,000 eastern black rhinos, both wild and captive, remain.
“This is a significant event — not only for Blank Park Zoo, but also for this critically endangered animal species,” said Mark Vukovich, the zoo's CEO.
The rhino calf isn't on display yet, as she still needs some mother-daughter bonding time. Ryan Bickel, the zoo's spokesperson, said those anxious to see her can check the zoo's social media and live webcams.
The zoo will hold a fundraiser and naming contest. Those who donate $50 can suggest one name, or donate $100 to suggest three names. Name ideas should be in an African language, the zoo said. The public will vote on the finalists.