Wonderful news from the Rhino & Elephant Sanctuary in Zimbabwe – their 9 year old southern black rhino is pregnant, and is expecting her calf as early as January 2014!
During a routine blood test done when the black rhino was being dehorned, her hormone levels indicated that she is between 6 and 12 months pregnant. Based on the last time she came into oestrus and the dates of the mating which have been observed this year, she is believed to be more towards 12 months than 6.
Rhinos are pregnant for a lengthy 15 months, and this hefty-sized rhino calf is expected sometime between January and April 2014, weighing between 50-80lb at birth (25-35kg) – ouch!!
Rhino calves are all born without horns, and the last black rhino born at this Sanctuary was back in 2007.
Imagine being at this project when this ‘little’ rhino is born !!
“Imire Sanctuary seems a place dedicated to fixing the broken relations between people, land and animals.” Anna-Marie, Canada.
When the baby rhino is born, it will stay close to her mother for the first year while she feeds it herself. Depending on the state of the poaching situation in Zimbabwe and the general health of the calf, if the baby is a boy, when he is about three years old, he will be relocated back into the wild, under careful management. If the baby is a girl then she will remain at the Sanctuary to increase the breeding herd of females.
Even more excitement
And as if that isn’t enough exciting news, another baby rhino is also expected soon!!
The 9 year old southern white rhino is also pregnant (although not managed to do a hormone test yet), but we wouldn’t be surprised if her baby is born first.
White rhino have a gestation period of 16 months, and this will be this white rhinos first baby, and first white rhino ever born at this Sanctuary.
Stay tuned for news on the progress of both pregnancies!
The Rhino and Elephant Sanctuary is a very hands-on volunteer project. This is an ideal project for anyone wanting to work up-close with wildlife and become completely immersed in the vital struggle to conserve the African Rhino. It offers a truly unique opportunity – to live amongst the wildlife and share in the daily experiences of a 10,000 acre African Game Reserve. Volunteers are a vital part of the work that is being done to breed and rehabilitate the endangered rhino back to their natural environment.
For anyone needing to do research for Zoology or Conservation degrees or considering a future working with wildlife, this is a fantastic opportunity, with close-up viewing of animal behaviour and the ability to observe unique ecosystems in rivers, lakes and plains.
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