A critically endangered Eastern black rhino managed to bring a new little life into the species when she gave birth to an incredibly rare calf.
After 15 months of pregnancy, 13-year-old mum Kapuki welcomed the newborn into the world on Sunday (May 19) at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, USA.
Though her pregnancy was long, thankfully the rhino’s labour was short and successful.
The zoo announced the birth on Twitter, writing:
After 15 months of pregnancy and a relatively quick labor, we’re excited to announce Kapuki gave birth! Kapuki’s maternal instincts kicked right in and she has been seen tending to the calf.
In a blog post, Lincoln Park Zoo explained the little animal has not yet been named or sexed, but the details will be shared once they become available.
The zoo continued with a ‘#rhinowatch’, documenting the first milestones in the baby rhino’s life. It began nursing from its mother, and after just 53 minutes on earth, the newborn put humans to shame and started taking its first steps.
Documenting the moment, the zoo wrote:
#RhinoWatch continues with the first of many important milestones – the calf stood up last night at only 53 minutes of age! Stay tuned for updates on the milestones the calf will go through in the critical first year of its life.
Another tweet read:
The calf continues to surpass milestones! Animal care continues to monitor from afar as Kapuki cares for the calf.
Since last night, the calf has been observed nursing several times. The first 48 hours of a calf’s life are critical and we remain cautiously optimistic.
According to CBS News, the zoo explained in a statement that the animals will not be on display to the public for the time being. Instead, veterinary staff will continue to monitor Kapuki and her calf with remote cameras, to give the rhinos privacy.
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Eastern black rhinos are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list of threatened species. According to WWF, populations of the species declined dramatically in the 20th century, as a result of European hunters and settlers.
Between 1960 and 1995, black rhino numbers reportedly dropped by 98 per cent, to less than 2,500.
The species has since made something of a comeback, with estimated numbers between 5,000 and 5,500. However, there is a long way to go before their numbers are back up to what they once were, and the animal is still critically endangered.
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Hopefully Kapuki’s calf will be one of many newborn black rhinos over the coming years!
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