KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Zoo announced Wednesday it will be welcoming a critically endangered eastern black rhinoceros calf this winter.
The calf is expected to be born in December 2022 or January 2023 to mother Zuri and father Ruka.
The zoo said when it arrives, the calf will likely weigh 75-100 pounds.
The black rhinoceros’ gestation period is typically 15-16 months. Zuri is currently in her third trimester and
receives weekly ultrasounds and blood hormone monitoring to ensure that the pregnancy is advancing normally.
The zoo said Zuri’s animal care specialists trained with her in preparation for the regular checkups by our veterinary health team, so Zuri is able to participate in her own care by patiently standing for the ultrasounds.
Both Zuri and Ruka arrived in Kansas City from the Oregon Zoo in April 2018 on the recommendation of AZA’s Species Survival Plan. Zuri, 15, was born at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and Ruka, 11, at the Saint Louis Zoo. This is the first calf for both.
Eastern black rhinoceros are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. With only about 740 left in the wild, it is the rarest of the three remaining black rhino subspecies and can be found in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa.
The biggest threat to rhinos continues to be poachers who desire the rhinos’ horns, according to the zoo. Through its Conservation Fund, the Kansas City Zoo is working with several programs in Africa that are working to stave off poaching and protect these incredible animals.