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SOS Rhino : In the News : Rare rhino about to give record second birth

Rare rhino about to give record second birth

  By Dan Klepal
Enquirer staff writer
Thursday, July 8, 2004

History is about to be made at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden that might keep one of the most endangered animals on Earth around a little longer.

Emi, a Sumatran rhinoceros, is expected to give birth later this month to a calf that she conceived while living at the zoo.

Three years ago, Emi became the first of her species in 112 years to reproduce in captivity.

When her calf is born, Emi will be the only Sumatran rhino in history to give birth twice in a controlled environment.

The implications are huge in the world of conservation.

Fewer than 300 of the animals survive.

Tom Foose, program director for the International Rhino Foundation, said the significance of Emi's second pregnancy can't be overstated.

"This second birth will demonstrate that the first wasn't a fluke, and is a major advance toward saving the Sumatran rhino," said Foose, who has no affiliation with the zoo.

"We do believe the work in Cincinnati has mastered the art and science of reproducing the species in captivity.

"So this second birth has the greatest possible significance to the species."

Terri Roth, vice president of animal sciences and director of the zoo's Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife, said Emi and her calf are both doing fine.

Emi could give birth as early as July 28, Roth said.

But, Emi will more likely carry the calf a couple of weeks longer, she said.

Roth is keeping the gender of the calf a secret for now, but said a female would be more valuable to the species as a whole since only eight of the rhinos live in captivity.

"Emi is acting like a very pregnant female," Roth said. "She is obviously very uncomfortable and feeling her extra weight."

The fetus inside Emi weighs about 65 pounds at this point in her pregnancy.

Andalas, Emi's calf born in 2001 that now resides at the Los Angeles Zoo, weighed 72 pounds at birth.

Emi will not be on display at the zoo until after she gives birth.

She and her new baby, are expected to stay at the zoo indefinitely.

They will be available for public viewing about two weeks after the birth.

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