Our Own Royal Baby: The Regal Rhino
July 26, 2013
So she may not be a princess, but she’s captured our hearts—and made a big splash from her earliest days (er, in the mud). Penny and Sanjay’s new calf is the 13th Indian rhino to be born at the Bronx Zoo since 1986. At birth, on April 6, she tipped the scales at around 120 pounds. Eventually, she could grow to more than 4,000 pounds.
The calf jauntily follows mom everywhere she goes, and seems especially fond of bathtime—in the mud, of course. Rhinos spend lots of time in mud wallows during summertime to cool their skin and regulate body temperature. The mud also works to protect their sensitive skin from the sun.
Including this recent calf, there are currently 56 Indian rhinos (AKA greater one-horned rhinoceroses) in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited North American zoos. This birth is part of the AZA’s Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program designed to maintain genetic diversity in zoo populations of threatened and endangered species.
The calf can be seen with her mother along the zoo’s Wild Asia Monorail. Until she is fully acclimated to her surroundings, exhibit times will be intermittent and will vary day-to-day.
Indian rhinos are native to the grasslands and swampy areas of northern India and southern Nepal. Fewer than 3,000 are estimated to remain in the wild, with nearly 70 percent of the population living in Kaziranga National Park in India. They are generally solitary animals except when mating or when females have young offspring.
Indian rhinos are designated as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and as “endangered” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.