Pittsburgh Zoo Welcomes Baby Rhino

By:Amanda Narcisi

For the second time since 2014, the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium welcomed an endangered black rhino calf.

On Wednesday March 15th, keepers were noticing Azizi was acting restless. “She was showing signs that she was getting close to delivering her calf,” says Kathy Suthard, Lead Carnivore keeper. “Through the use of cameras installed in Azizi’s room we were able to watch her without interfering.”

The calf is a female and is nursing and moving about. The keepers are continuing to keep an eye on her from behind the cameras and continue to monitor the calf’s nursing for her to reach the 30 pounds a week that come from the nutrients from mother’s milk. This diet will continue until the calf is one month old and then at that time it will be introduced to solid foods including sweet potatoes and alfalfa.

This calf is the first to be born in North America this year and only two were born last year in zoos. In Africa, the black rhino is on the endangered species list with only 450 to count in Africa. The alarming number is due to poaching for the rhino horns. There have been efforts to eliminating poaching, but hasn't meant a resurgence in the species. The Pittsburgh Zoo hopes that the new calf could raise a local awareness on how this species is in needed of help.

Last year The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium saw a birth of a leopard and the release of baby sea turtles. This also comes at a time when the zoo is opening a new jungle section and going through other upgrades.

Azizi and the calf will not be available for public viewing until the time for bonding has been reached and for the temperature and weather to cooperate. For information on when you can view the rhino calf stay tuned to the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium’s website and social media.