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The Wilds welcome an endangered rhinoceros calf

An Indian rhino can grow to be 4,800 pounds
An Indian rhino can grow to be 4,800 pounds
Photos by Jeff Hammer

After a nearly 16-month gestation period for 15-year-old Indian rhinoceros Sanya, she and 11-year-old Rustum welcomed a new calf to their herd. Born on Saturday, August 30 at The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio, the calf is now one of six Indian rhinoceroses living at the Columbus Zoo’s conservation center, according to a press release sent to today.

The press release also shared the calf, whose gender has not yet been determined, was born in pasture with the rest of the herd, which consists of five Indian and 13 southern white rhinoceroses. Dan Beetem, Director of Animal Management commented, “We had been watching the mother very closely over the past week. Her udder development and behavior told us the birth was imminent, however there are several good hiding places across 100 acres. The calf is doing well and already enjoys swimming in the lake with mom.”

Sanya and Rustum have lived at The Wilds since 2007. The pair were imported by the Zoological Society of San Diego to bring new genetics into the Association of Zoos and Aquariums program. The not-yet-named calf is Sanya’s and Rustum’s third child.

Indian rhinoceroses are native to the plains or woodlands of northern India, Bhutan and Nepal. On average, an Indian rhino can grow to measure six feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 4,800 pounds.

In the early 20th century, the population of Indian rhinoceroses greatly suffered due to the increase in hunting the now endangered species and farmers killing the “agricultural pests.” By 1975, only 600 Indian rhinoceroses remained in the wild, and by 1990, that number had dropped to 200. Thanks to conservation efforts, over 3,000 Indian rhinoceros live in the wild and 150 reside in captivity. The new calf at The Wilds will one day play a vital role in the Species Survival Plan. For now, the calf will enjoy its childhood at The Wilds.