Toronto Zoo is already a great place to spot baby animals, but it just became even more appealing thanks to its latest addition: a baby Indian rhinoceros.
On Friday, Toronto Zoo announced the birth of the male calf, who was born to 11-year-old Indian rhinoceros Ashakiran. And it’s a very exciting time for all those involved, as it marks the first successful birth of the species at the zoo since 1999, Toronto Sun reports.
Taking to its Facebook page, the zoo released two adorable photos of the unnamed baby rhino and shed light on the importance of the birth.
“A rhinoceros’ gestation period lasts 425-496 days (approximately 16 months) and this is the first surviving calf for Ashakiran and Vishnu, our 12 year old male rhino,” the Facebook post states. “As of mid-January, Ashakiran, affectionately known as “Asha”, was moved from public viewing to a maternity area where she was monitored closely. While the calf appears healthy and feeding well, the first 30 days will be critical for both mom and calf and Zoo staff will continue to closely monitor them both.”
While both Asha and her calf are not visible to the public at this time, the zoo clearly realized just how much everyone would really like to see him. So it uploaded a video to YouTube, and your heart will melt when you see him stumbling around and cozying up to his mother.
Maria Franke, curator of mammals at Toronto Zoo, also commented on how much hard work and dedication the birth required.
According to Toronto Sun, Franke said in a statement, “Asha is on a breeding loan from Los Angeles Zoo and it is these partnerships that will bring us one step closer to overall conservation efforts to save this incredible species. I would also like to thank the amazing team at the Toronto Zoo for all of the hard work and dedication that has resulted in this significant birth.”
There are only 2,000 Indian rhinos left in the wild, which makes their status “vulnerable” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Toronto Zoo states. However, the zoo is proud to be a part of the Species Survival Plan for this species and “aims to establish and maintain a healthy, genetically diverse populations, and supports conservation efforts in the wild through the Toronto Zoo Endangered Species Reserve Fund.”
If you want to learn more about Toronto Zoo and the good work it’s doing, you can find out more information on its website.