Yes, that is a baby white rhino

Baby southern white rhinoceros, Imani, born at Monarto Zoo


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In the wild, the southern white rhinoceros is threatened, but a captive population now offers hope.

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South Australia’s Monarto Zoo has welcomed the birth of Imani, a baby southern white rhinocerous.

Pregnant rhino Umqali gave birth on Sunday night and revealed her newborn to keepers on Monday.

Keeper Haidee Kinter said the zoo had prepared for the calf's arrival for several weeks.

"Umqali had been showing hormonal signs that she was getting close to giving birth, so we had been eagerly keeping an eye on her," she said.  

"Towards the end of her pregnancy we were lucky enough to see some calf movement in her belly, which was incredibly special. 

"Now that the calf has arrived we are very pleased that Umqali is being a fantastic mother - the pair are doing well and appear very relaxed."

Imani and her mother are already back out in their exhibit at the zoo, visible to visitors, along with adult females Uhura and Savannah.

The calf's name, meaning "faith" in Swahili, was chosen by two donors to the zoo's rhino protection program, Rachel Maddern and Matthew Murton, in honour of Ms Maddern's grandfather Anthony Taylor, a long-serving volunteer who had an unwavering faith in people and saw the best in any situation.

In the wild, poaching threatens the future of the southern white rhino.

So Monarto Zoo director Peter Clark said the calf's birth was an achievement for both the zoo and the international breeding program of which it was part.

"We are absolutely thrilled to welcome this beautiful young calf to Monarto Zoo and pleased that her arrival is contributing to the insurance population of such a remarkable species," Peter said.  

"Sadly, with the poaching rate now exceeding the birth rate of rhinos in Africa, it’s heartbreaking that rhinos are facing some serious trouble in the wild.

"Experts predict that if we don’t act now, they may be extinct in less than 10 years."

In time, the zoo plans to develop a larger rhino sanctuary capable of hosting about 30 animals, who will be relocated from Africa.

The population would act as insurance against the possible loss of rhinos to their native habitat, and a launchpad from which the species could eventually be reintroduced to their homelands.

"We hope South Australians far and wide will visit Monarto Zoo to welcome our newest addition, and in doing so they will be helping to support Zoos SA with this critical project," Mr Clark said.

Murray Valley Standard

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