KIAZI THE SOUTHERN WHITE RHINO IS EXPECTING!
Special holiday season delivery will be the first southern white rhinoceros ever born at Zoo Atlanta
ATLANTA – May 23, 2023 – Kiazi, a 21-year-old southern white rhinoceros at Zoo Atlanta, is expecting a calf. Rhino gestation is one of the animal kingdom’s longest at around 16 months. A birth is expected around December 2023, with a potential birth window extending into February 2024. The pregnancy was confirmed by the Animal Care and Veterinary Teams using fecal hormone samples in spring 2023.
The calf will be the first southern white rhinoceros ever born at Zoo Atlanta. Only one other rhino calf, an eastern black rhinoceros born in 2013, has been born at the Zoo in the organization’s 134-year history. This will be the first offspring for 12-year-old father Mumbles, who first met Kiazi in early 2022 following her late 2021 arrival from another Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited organization. The calf will not be the first for Kiazi, who gave birth to three previous offspring, one of them stillborn, at other accredited organizations.
“We are thrilled to announce Kiazi’s pregnancy and to be able to look forward to sharing the joy of watching a rhino calf grow with our Members and guests,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “We also hope that the connections our visitors make with this youngster will also inspire conservation action and awareness of the urgent threats facing rhinos in the wild.”
Kiazi, whose name is Swahili for “potato,” was recommended to breed with Mumbles by the AZA White Rhino Species Survival Plan® (SSP), which seeks to maintain healthy, genetically diverse populations of southern white rhinos in accredited zoos.
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.
Southern white rhinos are 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 updates on Kiazi’s pregnancy, and plan a visit or learn more at zooatlanta.org.
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About Zoo Atlanta
A proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for animal care and welfare, Zoo Atlanta has a mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education, and engaging experiences. The Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them endangered or critically endangered. Highlights include giant pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, the only giant panda twins in the U.S.; one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Recent transformations include the African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, bontebok, warthogs, meerkats and rhinos; Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination in the newly restored historic former home of the Atlanta Cyclorama; and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Plaza. For more information, visit zooatlanta.org.