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IT’S A GIRL! SOUTHERN WHITE RHINO CALF CONFIRMED TO BE FEMALE

Milestone is the latest for the herd at the soon-to-be-named Delta Air Lines Rhino Habitat

ATLANTA – January 23, 2024 – The first southern white rhino calf ever born at Zoo Atlanta has been confirmed to be female. Following a birth on Christmas Eve, the nearly month-old calf, who is believed to weigh between 250 and 300 pounds, continues to do well with her mother in a behind-the-scenes area of the Zoo’s rhino complex.

The Animal Care and Veterinary Teams do not interfere with Kiazi’s care of the calf. Kiazi is being very protective of her offspring and is displaying all the maternal behaviors the teams hoped to see.

The rhino complex is better equipped than ever for exciting developments within the Zoo’s southern white rhino herd thanks to a $1 million gift from The Delta Air Lines Foundation. The gift supported significant updates to the habitat in late 2023, including the addition of some 2,000 to 2,500 square feet of habitat space; a rain and heat shelter; and some 1,500 new square feet of guest visiting space. In recognition of this contribution, the habitat will soon be named the Delta Air Lines Rhino Habitat.

“Even though our Members and guests can not yet see the calf on a regular basis, we are so excited about future opportunities to share this little one’s growth and milestones with friends near and far – particularly in such a beautifully renovated habitat that has been redesigned with southern white rhinos in mind,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “We are deeply grateful to our friends at The Delta Air Lines Foundation for their support of this space and the animals who call it home.”

The calf is the first offspring for male Mumbles, who has not yet met his daughter. The teams hope to introduce Kiazi and the calf to Dakari, the new female southern white rhino who joined the animal population in October, and plan to introduce the group to Mumbles this summer.

Southern white rhinos, which are the largest of the five rhino species, are not actually white, despite their name. The moniker is believed to have originated with the Afrikaans word wyd, meaning “wide” – a reference to the shape of white rhinos’ upper lips.

The species is currently classified as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). While poaching for their horns is a serious issue for all rhinos and has already resulted in the extinctions and near-extinctions of some species, southern white rhinos are especially vulnerable because they often travel in herds in the wild, a behavior that makes it easier for poachers to locate them. Powdered rhino horn is believed by some cultures to possess medical properties, although rhino horns are made of keratin – the same substance found in human hair and fingernails – and have no known medicinal value.

Stay tuned for exciting updates on the calf’s naming and future visibility. Plan a visit at zooatlanta.org.

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