Zoo Atlanta’s white rhino is expecting a baby later this year
Atlanta, GA. (WRBL) – A species classified as “Near Threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature gets an additional member. Zoo Atlanta announced in a press release on May 23, 2023 that southern white rhino Kiazi is pregnant.
The rhino, whose name means “potato” in Swahili, according to the zoo, is due to give birth in December this year, ending a 16-month gestation period.
“We are delighted to announce Kiazi’s pregnancy and look forward to sharing the joy of watching a rhino calf grow with our members and guests,” Zoo President and CEO Raymond B. King said in a statement from the press release .
He said he hopes the pregnancy and eventual birth of Kiazi’s baby will help raise awareness of the dangers faced by rhinos in the wild and spark interest in conservation efforts.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the white rhino population in the wild is just 16,000 and they continue to be a target for poachers for their horns. Altanta Zoo said in its press release that southern white rhinos are particularly vulnerable to poachers due to their herding behavior and that rhino horns are considered medicinal in some cultures, although they have “no medicinal value.”
It should be noted that southern white rhinos are not the same subspecies as the northern white rhino National Geographic reports, “In general, Southern whites are slightly taller and more dangerous.”
Northern white rhinos are also extinct in the wild, with only two females of the subspecies remaining in captivity, reports say International Rhino Foundation.
WWF states that the protection of southern white rhinos is still important as poachers continue to target them, and that protection of these animals can also help conserve other species in rhino sanctuaries.