FORT WORTH, Texas – The Fort Worth Zoo welcomed a female greater one-horned rhinoceros on August 16, 2012. This birth, a major triumph for this endangered species, is the first at the Fort Worth Zoo and the first ever in Texas. Both mother and calf are doing well and can now be seen on exhibit in the Zoo’s Asian Falls exhibit.
The yet-to-be-named calf is the fifth successful offspring for her 25-year-old mother Shanti and the 27th for 22-year-old sire Arun. Breeding opportunities are few for males since female rhinos have a gestation period of 15 to 16 months and wait four years after giving birth before reproducing again. At birth, a young rhinoceros weighs an average 130 pounds.
The greater one-horned rhino is named for the single horn atop its head that measures between 8 and 24 inches. This rhinoceros species has two distinct skin folds on its body, giving it the appearance of wearing a suit of armor. Much of the skin on the rump and shoulder has raised circular bumps called tubercles. A mature male weighs about 2 tons; the female, slightly less than that.
The greater one-horned rhino is one of 43 endangered species at the Fort Worth Zoo. The Zoo’s greater one-horned rhinos are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan, a program created to manage a sustainable population of endangered species in AZA zoos. The International Rhino Foundation lists the greater one-horned rhino as endangered.
The Fort Worth Zoo has bred three of the five rhinoceros species: black, white and now the greater one-horned rhino. The Zoo currently exhibits black and greater one-horned rhinos.
“This birth is a tremendous milestone for the Fort Worth Zoo,” said Zoo Executive Director Michael Fouraker. “We are excited to continue our commitment to the conservation of this endangered species.”
Arun arrived at the Fort Worth Zoo in 1990 as a rare gift from the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation in Nepal. Shanti is on loan from the San Francisco Zoo.
Name the Baby!
In an effort to provide a name for the baby rhino that reflects her heritage and personality (the greater one-horned rhino is native to Nepal and India), Zoo staff carefully and thoughtfully selected a list of five names from which the public may choose. Voting will take place from August 30 through September 20 on the Fort Worth Zoo’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/fortworthzoo). The name that receives the most votes will be the baby rhino’s name, and the grand prize winner will be determined by a random drawing among all entries of the “winning” name. The winner and winning name will be announced September 21.
The nationally ranked Fort Worth Zoo was recently ranked the number one attraction in the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex by Zagat survey. Home to more than 500 animal species and a world-famous reptile collection, the Zoo supports conservation projects in more than 30 countries around the globe. The institution’s focus on education and conservation is second to none, enhancing the lives of more than 1 million visitors a year.