Rhino calf becomes first animal born at Toronto Zoo in 2018
By: Daniel Caudle
Among the snow squalls and sub-freezing temperatures the Toronto Zoo has issued a warm welcome to its newest resident – an approximately 63-kilogram baby rhinoceros.
On Jan. 4 the Toronto Zoo celebrated the first birth of 2018 – a male greater one-horned rhino.
Ashakiran, a 13-year-old greater one-horned rhino gave birth at 11:04 a.m., just two weeks after the Toronto Zoo welcomed the birth of a male white rhinoceros.
We are excited to announce that Ashakiran, a 13-year-old female greater one-horned rhino, gave birth to a male calf on Thursday, January 4, 2018, at 11:04 am. This is the first birth of 2018 for the Zoo. ? pic.twitter.com/Hlqs0lVhvt
— The Toronto Zoo (@TheTorontoZoo) January 8, 2018
“He is happy, healthy and bonding with his mother,” said Toronto Zoo Curator of Mammals Maria Franke. “The four days’ wait to announce the news was to assure that the mom and baby were bonding and nursing properly.”
According to the Toronto Zoo “the pressure of human populations on the last remaining habitats of the [greater one-horned] rhinoceros has resulted in it becoming an endangered species.”
“He does not have a name yet — but there is likely to be a contest to engage the public in choosing a name,” said Franke.
With an estimated 2,575 individuals left in the wild, the greater one-horned rhino has been listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.
“We have an amazing staff and we do fundraisers to donate money to help rhinos around the world,” said Franke.
The population in the wild has been increasing over the last few decades, and has moved from the ‘very rare’ category up to only endangered. Their population has been increasing due to strict protection of the rhino in India. Estimates put their natural habitat as less than 20,000 square kilometres, and their population is considered severely fragmented.