Artificially Conceived Southern White Rhino Offers Hope for Critically Endangered Cousin
by Meilan Solly Smithsonian.com
A southern white rhino named Victoria gave birth to an artificially conceived calf at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park last Sunday, marking a milestone in the fight to save the closely related northern white rhino from total extinction.
Conservation organization San Diego Zoo Global announced the successful delivery earlier this week. Per a press release, the male calf—newly dubbed Edward—is the first southern white rhino to be born through artificial insemination in North America.
Keepers inseminated Victoria with frozen semen from a male named Maoto last March following hormone-induced ovulation; 493 days later, the rhino gave birth after 30 minutes of labor.
As Natalie Rice reports for the Associated Press, both mother and calf will remain off exhibit for the foreseeable future to ensure they have enough time to bond. Eventually, staff will integrate Edward into the rhino community, introducing him to the five other females housed at the zoo’s Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center. One of these females, Amani, is pregnant with her own artificially conceived offspring and is expected to give birth in November or December 2019.