SINGAPORE: Christmas came early for the Singapore Zoo as it welcomed a white rhinoceros calf on Dec 19, a species considered “near threatened” in the wild.
Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) announced the female calf’s arrival on Friday (Dec 27) via a Facebook video.
The calf, which is yet unnamed, was born to mother Donsa and father Hoepel. The parents are from South Africa and arrived in Singapore in 1992 and 2000, respectively. Donsa is an experienced rhino mother – this is her 12th calf, according to a fact sheet from WRS.
The rhino calf is “quickly getting her footing and growing strong”, according to WRS.
“The Rhino Care Team has started conditioning her to scrubbing sessions – brushing her body with a long brush to enhance the bonding process and get her used to being touched,” WRS said, adding that this is beneficial for “future husbandry and medical procedures”.
“The little calf already voluntarily participates in these sessions,” it added.
Visitors to the zoo will not be able to catch Donsa and her baby rhino yet, but they can meet Hoepel and other white rhinos during their daily feeding session.
The white rhino, together with the Indian rhino, is the largest land mammal after the elephant.
White rhinos are considered near threatened in the wild, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened species. They are poached for their horns, which some believe have medicinal properties, although there has been no scientific evidence to suggest the horns are a cure for anything, according to the fact sheet.