He doesn’t have a name yet, but at just two days old, a male Indian rhinoceros calf is settling in wonderfully at the Toronto Zoo.
New parents, an 11-year-old female rhino named Ashakiran and Vishnu, a 12-year-old male, welcomed their first surviving calf on Wednesday night. The zoo announced the birth today.
“While the calf appears healthy, and feeding well, the first thirty days will be critical for both mom and calf,” the facility said in a statement. “Toronto Zoo Wildlife Care staff will continue to closely monitor Asha and her calf in the maternity area, which is not visible to the public at this time.”
Ashakiran, known as Asha to zookeepers, gave birth to a stillborn calf in 2011, became pregnant subsequently, but until now, couldn’t carry a live calf to term. This time, the zoo followed a protocol developed by the Cincinnati Zoo of giving Asha oral progesterone to help hold the pregnancy for the 16-month gestation.
“Asha is on a breeding loan from Los Angeles Zoo and it is these partnerships that will bring us one step closer to overall conservation efforts to save this incredible species,” Maria Franke, Toronto’s curator of mammals said in a statement. “I would also like to thank the amazing team at the Toronto Zoo for all of the hard work and dedication that has resulted in this significant birth.”
Once considered an endangered species, there are perhaps 2,000 Indian rhinos left in the wild. Still, the species is considered vulnerable due to habitat destruction and poaching despite increased conservation efforts.
Photos Toronto Zoo/Facebook