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SOS Rhino : In the News : Rare rhino is born in Fort Worth

Rare rhino is born in Fort Worth

  By Anna M. Tinsley
Staff Writer

Posted on Sun, Mar.13.2005

FORT WORTH - A rare black rhinoceros calf, the first female of the species to be born at the Fort Worth Zoo, is expected to go on display this week.

The unnamed calf, which weighs about 50 pounds, was born around 6 a.m. Friday to Mtoto, a 15-year-old female, and Binga, her male companion.

The couple has another offspring, Uhuru, a male.

Mother and baby are doing well and could go on view by Tuesday, said Lyndsay Nantz, a zoo spokeswoman.

"We hope since the weather is nice and she's so healthy, they will go outside," Nantz said. "But for the first couple of weeks, we will let the mother decide if she wants the calf to be indoors or outside."

Mtoto went through a 16-month gestation period.

Because she was so close to delivering the baby, zoo officials had a security camera on her for the past month, Nantz said.

About 5 a.m. Friday, security guards noticed that she was lifting her tail and squatting -- two signs of impending labor. By 6 a.m., the calf was born and about 30 minutes later, the newborn was trying to nurse, Nantz said.

The black rhinoceros is endangered and only about 3,100 exist in the wild.

That's why the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative effort of zoos and other animal organizations, was initiated in recent years, according to zoo officials.

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