As a follow up to my post last week on the surge in rhino poaching last year, I thought I’d note some good rhino news out of Zoo Miami . In late December, after a nearly 16-month pregnancy, Kalu, Zoo Miami’s 11-year old Indian, gave birth to a calf.
This birth highlights the collaborative nature of breeding programs at AZA accredited institutions. The mother, Kalu, was born at the Bronx Zoo in of 2000 and arrived at Zoo Miami as part of a breeding loan in 2004. The father, Suru, was born at the San Diego Wild Animal Park in December 2000. He arrived at Zoo Miami in October 2003 as part of a breeding loan with the San Francisco Zoo. This is the first offspring for both individuals.
There are less than 3,000 Indian rhinos left in the wild occurring in small protected areas of Nepal and India. Over the years, they have been poached extensively for their horn which is used for medicinal purposes and for dagger handles. They are the world’s fourth largest land mammal sometimes reaching a weight of 6,000 pounds.
This very rare birth is not only significant for Zoo Miami, it is important to the international efforts to maintain a healthy captive population of this endangered species throughout the world. It was only the third captive birth of an Indian rhino in the U.S. last year.