It's a girl! Critically endangered black rhino calf born in Australian zoo

May 2, 2017, 11:29 a.m.
black rhino calf born at Taronga Zoo
Photo: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

The Western black rhinoceros is extinct, but all black rhinos species are in trouble. So when any black rhino baby is born, it's cause for celebration.

A female Southern black rhino calf was born in mid April at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia. She's the first offspring for mom Kufara and the third generation of black rhino to be born at the facility.

The calf weighed between 55-65 pounds at birth and has been closely following her mother, who is very protective of her first baby, keepers say.

“All five rhino species remaining in the wild are under enormous pressure to survive. Every birth is critical, and hopefully this calf further highlights the need to protect these remarkable species,” said keeper Linda Matthews in a statement.

There were about 100,000 black rhinos in 1960, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Between 1970 and 1992, 96 percent of Africa's remaining black rhinos were killed by poaching, reports the World Wildlife Fund. Their numbers dropped to just 2,410 in 1995. Today, the black rhino is listed as critically endangered. Conservation efforts helped boost those number to 4,880 by 2010.

A founding member of the International Rhino Foundation, Taronga is home to three rhino species: black and white rhinos from Africa and the greater one-horned rhino from Asia. The zoo has successful breeding and conservation programs for all three species.

Kufara and her calf are now spending time behind the scenes at the zoo bonding, but they are scheduled to go on display for visitors in late June.

Watch Kufara and her baby as they trot around their enclosure: