A four month old Indian Rhinoceros that was conceived though artificial insemination was found dead Friday, October 18, 2013 at the Montgomery Zoo in Alabama. The baby rhino, named Ethan, was the “first known calf, of any rhino species in the US, to be produced by (artificial insemination) and be born and thrive in captivity”, according to the Cincinnati Zoo that worked with the Montgomery Zoo on the insemination experiment. The calf was named after Ethan Gilman, the Alabama boy rescued by the FBI in February after being held hostage during a six-day standoff in Midland City. Apparently the boy loved visiting Montgomery Zoo and bonded with the calf’s mother, who was pregnant at the time.
The Indian Rhinoceros is an herbivore found in northern India and Nepal. It can weigh as much as 4,400 pounds and grow to a length of 12.5 feet. Sadly, the Indian Rhino’s horn, like other rhinoceros species, is highly coveted in places like China and Hong Kong for medicinal uses and in North Africa and the Middle East for handles on ornamental daggers. As a result, the Indian Rhino is an endangered species with only about 2000 individuals remaining in the wild due to illegal poaching activities
At this time, it is not known why the baby rhino died. According to Sharah McKemey, a zoo spokeswoman, Ethan’s death was “sudden and unexpected”. A necropsy (autopsy for animals) is currently being planned.
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