Florida Zoo Announces Birth of Southern White Rhino Calf

The calf is the 8th southern white rhino to be born at ZooTampa as part of a species survival plan

southern white rhino
Photo: zoo tampa

Another southern white rhino has been born in Tampa, Florida, as part of a plan to aid the species' survival.

ZooTampa announced on Facebook Saturday that the calf, a female, was born on June 6 to Alake, a 20-year-old experienced mother.

Both mama and baby "are doing well," the zoo said in its announcement. "The baby rhino appears to be strong and is nursing alongside her mother."

"This birth marks the 8th southern white rhino calf born at ZooTampa. Alake was paired with male Ongava through the Species Survival Plans (SSP) overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) ensure the survival of these protected species," the zoo explained.

The calf, who hasn't been named yet, will join the rest of the crash in the upcoming weeks (a "crash" is the term for a group of rhinos), and guests will be able to see her at the Expedition Wild Africa exhibit when it opens.

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Southern white rhinos are the second-largest land mammal on Earth, according to the World Wildlife Fund, and were nearly extinct by the end of the 1800s. Thanks to conservation efforts, they are now classified as Near Threatened, making them the only one of the five rhino species that are not endangered, according to the WWF.

southern white rhino
zoo tampa

"The southern white rhino population had dwindled to an estimated 50-200 individuals at the beginning of the 20th century, but through conservation efforts, the population of white rhinos in their native range in Africa has rebounded to about 20,400 animals," Zoo Tampa said in its announcement of the calf's birth.

"However, the species remains classified as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to threats in the wild due to habitat loss and illegal poaching for their horns."

More than 98 percent of southern white rhinos occur in the savannas of South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya.

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