Having a bit of a crap day? Look, it’s been a weird year.
But in the final days of 2017, a little white rhinoceros born at Toronto Zoo on Christmas Eve has provided a sliver of light at the end of a rather tumultuous tunnel.
Born to first-time mum Zohari, a seven-year-old white rhinoceros, the new little male calf arrived Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017 at 10:45 p.m. — the first white rhino calf born at Toronto Zoo, in Ontario, Canada, in 27 years.
The zoo reports that the calf is healthy and strong, weighing in at a whopping 62.3 kilograms (137 pounds) — that is a big baby — and “has very hairy ears.”
The first 30 days are pretty important for both mom and the wee bairn, and so the maternity area, seen in the videos, is not available for public viewing (luckily, the zoo installed cameras for our lecherous selves).
A white rhino’s gestation period is about 425-496 days, so snaps for Zohari.
“Zohari’s genetics are very valuable to the White Rhino Species Survival Plan which makes this birth particularly significant,” said Maria Franke, Curator of Mammals, Toronto Zoo in a press statement, referencing a major conservation plan the zoo is one part of.
“Zoo staff were monitoring her 24/7 for several weeks and their passion and commitment should be commended. The Toronto Zoo is working hard to help raise awareness and funds to save this species and other rhinos in the wild.”
It’s quite the landmark for both the zoo and the white rhino as a species — the white rhino is currently listed as Near Threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. There are approximately 19,682 to 21,077 left in the wild according to 2016 stats from IUCN’s African Rhino Specialist Group.
Why threatened? The white rhino’s beautiful horn is increasing as a sought-after black market item for
In fact, according to Toronto Zoo, the species was brought back from the brink of extinction by conservation efforts when their numbers hit as low as 20 (!) left in the wild in South Africa’s Umfalozi Game Reserve.
So this little yet-to-be-named wonder marks a corner turned for the white rhino and a spark at the end of one heck of a year — one that granted, wasn’t skint on baby rhino #content.