Zoo welcomes white rhinoceros baby on Christmas Eve

Zoo Atlanta didn’t get a hippopotamus for Christmas — but another large mammal had a baby, just in time for the holiday. Zoo staff welcomed an adorable baby rhino on Christmas Eve. 

The southern white rhinoceros is the first to be born at the zoo. The calf is mom Kiazi’s third child, according to the zoo. She previously gave birth at another organization before coming to Zoo Atlanta. Her newborn appears healthy and strong. 

The calf is 12-year-old Mumbles’ first child, the zoo said. He met Kiazi early last year. 

“The Zoo Atlanta family is beyond excited about the birth of Kiazi’s calf,” zoo president and CEO Raymond B. King said. “This birth has been long-awaited news for many months.”

Kiazi and her newborn calf at Atlanta Zoo
Kiazi and her newborn calf at Atlanta Zoo

Zoo Atlanta

The zoo first detected 22-year-old Kiazi’s pregnancy in the spring and monitored her in the months since with voluntary ultrasounds. White rhino pregnancies last for a whopping 16 and 18 months. Newborns weigh between 100 and 150 pounds. 

The zoo does not yet know how much Kiazi and Mumbles’ baby weighs, a spokesperson said. Kiazi has been very protective, so the zoo has been making sure she and her calf have as much privacy as possible. 

The pair will continue bonding behind the scene before joining the main rhino habitat, the zoo said. Mumbles will meet his child sometime next year.

Southern white rhinos are classified as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. They are the only one of the five rhino species that are not considered endangered, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.

“All rhino species are currently in peril, and as stewards of this brand-new ambassador here in Atlanta, we also have a responsibility to do all we can to raise awareness of the status of wild rhinos,” King said.

White rhinos can live between 40 and 50 years, according to the zoo. They stand up to 6 feet tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 6,000 pounds.

Zoo Atlanta also welcomed another female southern white rhinoceros in October, 17-year-old Dakari. 

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