Tanganyika Wildlife Park Welcomes the Arrival of a New Indian Rhino Baby after 462 days
When you see the pictures of our new Indian rhino baby, you might ask, “What’s a baby rhino called?” A baby rhino is called a calf, and rhino calves (especially MarJon) are very cute! Since all species of rhinos are threatened or endangered, rhino babies are not only cute but also important to preserving the species. Tanganyika Wildlife Park is thrilled to announce the arrival of a new addition to our family, a healthy and strong Indian Rhino calf! This blog will cover the birth news, how zoos prepare for baby rhinos, and fun facts about Indian rhino babies.
Indian Rhino Baby Born After 462 Days of Pregnancy
Born to Monica, the first rhino to be born through artificial insemination, and Stacks, who also resides at the Park, the Indian rhino baby was conceived naturally and arrived at 9:29 pm on February 16th, after a pregnancy of 462 days.
Weighing in at approximately 80 to 90 pounds, the calf, named MarJon, MJ for short, was up and nursing within just a few hours of birth. Mary and Jon Sendall have long supported the park and earned the honor of naming the calf. Monica is a new mother but acts like a pro and has been bonding with her rhino baby. She carefully cleaned it off throughout the night, and they have been napping together. Both mom and baby are doing great, and we are excited to see MarJon grow and develop in the coming weeks and months.
“This is an incredible moment for the entire Tanganyika Family,” says Jim Fouts, owner of Tanganyika Wildlife Park. “This is why we do what we do, preserving species who are on the brink of extinction. We are so proud of Monica and her calf and are excited to share this special moment with the community.”
The keepers at Tanganyika Wildlife Park have been working tirelessly to ensure that Monica and her calf receive the best care. “We are overjoyed to see Monica and her calf doing so well,” says Sierra, one of Monica’s keepers. “Monica has been doing great as a first-time mom, except the couple of times she’s used the calf as her pillow. But in all seriousness, it’s amazing to watch them bond, and we can’t wait to see MJ grow and explore the world.”
With all the talk about extinction, a lot of people wonder, “Are Rhinoceros Extinct?” MarJon’s birth is proof that rhinos aren’t extinct, but they are endangered. With 4,014 Indian rhinos counted in the 2022 census, the news is positive, but the rhinos still need your help. You can donate directly to organizations like International Rhino Foundation that work to save rhinos in the wild or visit your local zoo! If you’re ever wondering, what is a baby rhino called, or anything else about animals, the keepers at Tanganyika Wildlife Park would be happy to talk with you about it.
Make sure you get your season passes for the 2023 season so you can see Monica and MJ!
Preparing for a Baby Rhino
Zoos work together to create breeding plans for the species in their care. Using genetic and family lineage information, studbook coordinators make matches across the country and the globe. For example, Monica and Stacks were matched up to breed because their offspring would add to the species’ genetic diversity. These matches are important for keeping the population’s genetic diversity healthy so zoos can continue Indian rhino conservation.
When Monica arrived at Tanganyika she wasn’t old enough to breed, so it wasn’t until 2020 that the first introductions between Stacks and Monica began. Rhino breeding can be difficult to watch because sometimes it can look more like fighting than anything else. Expert keepers monitor the introductions to minimize injury during breeding. Once successful breeding is seen or assumed, the waiting game for a baby rhino begins. Rhino gestation is about 15-18 months, so it requires a lot of patience.
In anticipation of a successful birth, the keepers at Tanganyika Wildlife Park trained Monica for ultrasound and well-being checks for two years. It takes a dedicated team of individuals to care for a pregnant rhino and Monica receives top-notch care from the staff at the Park. To confirm the pregnancy, the reproductive specialist Dr. Monica Stoops analyzed Monica’s urine and determined that Monica was expecting a rhino baby. Throughout the pregnancy, Tanganyika’s veterinarian, Dr. Gregory Seiler, has been performing ultrasounds to monitor Monica’s progress.
According to keeper Sierra, who has been working with Monica for the past three years, the pregnancy was visible for some time. “I started to be able to see and feel the baby move when I gave Monica her belly scratches,” Sierra said. “She’s showed all the signs of a healthy pregnancy: long naps, increased appetite, and lots of resting.”
Once pregnancy was confirmed, it was time to prepare for the baby rhino. Many people wonder, “How big is a new born rhino?” Newborn baby rhino weight is around 100 pounds. They are a couple of feet tall and a few feet long. Since Monica’s enclosure is made of large metal bollards about 18 inches apart, a baby rhino could squeeze through.
The team started a month-long process of installing different rhino baby-proofing before they found one that mom didn’t break or mess with. 2X10 boards and donated firehose were installed along the bottom of the bollards to keep the baby from squeezing through. It wasn’t pretty, but sometimes baby-proofing just has to be whatever works.
After 462 days MarJon, the Indian rhino baby arrived. Monica’s mom at Buffalo zoo held the record for shortest rhino gestation at 465 days but Monica likes to be the star and break records. She now holds the title for shortest rhino gestation.
Fun Baby Rhino Facts like: What’s a Baby Rhino Called?
1. What’s a baby rhino called?
A calf! Mom rhinos are often referred to as cows. A group of rhinos is called a “crash”, but Indian rhinos are more solitary than some other rhino species, so you likely wouldn’t see more than just a mom and a baby rhino together.
2. Can baby rhinos walk?
Rhino calves can stand up within an hour of birth and start running within a few days. Unlike other ungulate babies, who can be quite wobbly on their feet, baby rhinos are surprisingly sturdy and can care for themselves from a young age.
3. Do baby rhinos have horns?
Baby rhinos are born with tiny bumps where their horns will eventually grow. Rhino horn is made of keratin just like our fingertips and hair. As rhinos grow, so do their horns.
4. How long do baby rhinos stay with their mom?
Baby rhinos may stay with their mothers for up to 2-4 years before becoming independent and leaving to establish their own territory.
5. Are rhinoceros extinct?
Indian rhino populations are increasing but are still considered threatened due to poaching and habitat loss.
The arrival of a new Indian Rhino baby at the Tanganyika Wildlife Park after a pregnancy of 462 days, is not only a cause for celebration but also for hope. With all species of rhinos being threatened or endangered, the birth represents the success of conservation efforts and a dedication to preserving the species. The efforts of zoos and organizations like the International Rhino Foundation in preserving genetic diversity and supporting endangered species are crucial to the survival of rhinos. The birth serves as a reminder that while rhinos may not be extinct, they still need our help to protect them from extinction.