'Extra Special' White Rhino Born at Disney's Animal Kingdom to First-Time Mom Jao

The white rhino is an endangered species, making the calf’s birth a special moment for the Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction

baby rhino
Photo: Dr. Mark Penning/Instagram

A new rhino is coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Florida!

Disney Park's Vice President of Animals, Science & Environment, Dr. Mark Penning, shared a photo of the baby calf alongside its mother on Wednesday.

"🦏🦏🦏 BABY NEWS! Our team of animal care experts welcomed our newest baby animal to the family this morning – an adorable white rhino calf!" Penning announced.

The baby calf's sex and weight are not immediately available as "it's important to give first-time mom Jao and her newborn ample time to nurse and bond backstage," the official said. Eventually, the newborn will make its way to Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction.

Penning promised more photos of Jao and her newborn "soon."

The VP also noted, "White rhinos are endangered, so this birth is extra special for this incredible species."

The baby white rhino makes a total of four newborns at Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safaris this year.

In May, guests got to witness Heidi the Hartmann's mountain zebra give birth to her foal. The newborn weighed in at a healthy 65 pounds and stood up on his hooves minutes after entering the world.

A few months later, Disney Park's Animal Kingdom welcomed two babies back to back.

A Nile hippopotamus calf was born on July 12 and a western lowland gorilla followed on July 13.

A blog post by veterinarian Scott Terrell, Director of Animal & Science Operations at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts reports that gorilla mom Azizi welcomed her infant backstage and, soon after, introduced the baby to the family troop.

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Meanwhile, new hippopotamus mom Tuma gave birth to her little one in the Safi River on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Terrell reported the newborn was "nuzzling with mom and moving through the water like a pro."

According to Terrell, both sets of new parents were paired through the Species Survival Plan, "a program overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums," he shared. "The plan ensures responsible breeding of vulnerable or critically endangered species — including Nile hippopotamuses and western lowland gorillas — to help create healthy, genetically diverse populations for years to come."

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