Second Rare Rhino Born at Lion Country Safari in 2021 Bolsters Conservation Efforts
County Commissioner Robert Weinroth’s office is happy the spread the BIG news!
Lion Country Safari welcomed a male Southern White Rhinoceros calf to its herd on November 17th, 2021, the second calf born at the park this year. He is a significant contribution to the White Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan, a national collaboration to save the imperiled species from extinction. Both the calf, named Josh, and mom are spending some quality time bonding together in a maternity area, which is visible to guests from their cars in the drive-through safari.
Lion Country Safari cares for one of the largest herds of rhinoceros in the country with a long history of breeding success. The baby is the 5th offspring born to 22-year-old mom Bloom and he is the 38th rhino calf to be born at the park since 1979. Bloom’s family line is considered underrepresented in the population; each offspring’s genes are important to the overall diversity and health of the population under human care and to the conservation of the species.
During the 1970s, this species was teetering on the edge of extinction with less than 1,000 individuals left on the planet. Today, thanks to multi-national collaborative breeding and protection efforts, there are an estimated 20,000 white rhinos and each new birth contributes to their continued conservation.
Rhino mothers give birth to a single calf weighing between 88 and 132 pounds (40-60 kg). The calf is expected to gain 3-4 pounds (1-2kg) a day from his mother’s milk, and will gain about 1,000 pounds (450 kg) a year for the first three years. Baby rhinos nurse for almost two years.
Of the five species of rhinos (White, Black, Indian, Sumatran and Javan), the white rhino is the most abundant, but all 5 species are in peril due mostly to poaching. Lion Country Safari is home to 15 White Rhinos – 11 females and 4 males and is a proud participant of the White Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program of the Associations of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The SSP ensures that a genetically sound population of White Rhinos survives should threats worsen in the wild.