FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 22, 2022
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
San Diego Zoo Safari Park Welcomes Birth of Southern White Rhino Calf at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center
SAN DIEGO (Aug. 22, 2022) — A male southern white rhino calf stands with his mother after playing in a mud wallow at Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Rolling in mud is a natural behavior of rhinos. Rhinos coat themselves with a thick layer of mud that helps act as a sunscreen and bug repellent, and helps to keep them cool.
The calf was conceived through natural breeding and was born on Aug. 6 to first-time mom Livia, and father J Gregory. Wildlife care specialists report the calf, yet-to-be-named, is healthy, confident and full of energy, and that Livia is an excellent mother, very attentive and protective 0f her offspring.
All rhino births are significant, and this calf’s birth represents an essential step in San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Northern White Rhino Initiative, showing Livia can carry a calf to term and care for her offspring. This is vitally important, as Livia is now among the female rhinos at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center who could potentially serve in the future as a surrogate mother to a northern white embryo.
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Northern White Rhino Initiative is dedicated to saving the northern white rhino through innovative reproductive technologies, including artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer. At the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center, an interdisciplinary team—including wildlife care and health teams, reproductive physiologists and geneticists—are working with southern white rhinos as a model for developing these advanced reproductive technologies, with the ultimate goal to establish a sustainable population of northern white rhinos using banked genetic material from the Frozen Zoo®, a critical component of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Biodiversity Banking efforts.
Only two northern white rhinos remain on earth, residing at a wildlife conservancy in Kenya. Both are females and unable to reproduce naturally. The work being done to conserve the northern white rhino may also be applied to other rhino species, including critically endangered Sumatran and Javan rhinos.
Photo taken on Aug. 12, 2022 by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
- Video of calf with his mother as he explores an area of the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on Aug. 12, 2022.
- Photos of the calf and his mother at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
- Photos credit: Ken Bohn, Aug. 12, 2022, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.