KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Zoo is celebrating the new year with a new addition.
It announced Zuri, a critically endangered eastern black rhinoceros, gave birth to a calf early in the morning on Dec. 31.
The calf is busy walking, sparring, and nursing with its mother, according to the zoo’s animal care specialists.
Zuri has been a patient and attentive first-time mother. The rhino barn is being kept quiet with limited human interaction to allow mother and calf plenty of time to bond, which is a very important process.Kansas City Zoo
Once animal care specialists think the time is right, they plan to perform a neonatal exam on the calf. The animal’s gender will be confirmed at that time.
The zoo plans to hold a contest to name the calf in the coming months.
The zoo said it has taken steps to ensure Zuri had a successful pregnancy and the calf would be born healthy.
Specialists said they trained Zuri to stand for weekly ultrasounds during the checkups and experts also monitored hormones in her blood.
Both Zuri and father, Ruka, arrived in Kansas City from the Oregon Zoo in April 2018. Ruka was born at the St. Louis Zoo and Zuri was born at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
The Kansas City Zoo says this is the first calf for both parents.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature says there are only about 740 eastern black rhinos left in the wild.