Saturday, April 27, 2013

She May Be Ugly, But She's Still A Loving Mum

Sadness last week at Hamilton Zoo, when its southern white rhino, Kito, gave birth to a dead calf.
A post-mortem examination found the little female rhino had bled
Mum Kito with baby Ubuntu
internally as a result of a ruptured liver.
The birth was Kito's second: the first was a male, Ubuntu, in March 2010. He had complications as well, initially born blind due to bleeding into the eyes. But after initial careful hand-raising he recovered and went on to become a normal healthy calf.
Hamilton Zoo Curator Samantha Kudeweh, also coordinator for the Australasian region's white rhino breeding programme, says the loss of the female calf is upsetting for both staff and Kito: ''We found it probably within 20 minutes of the birth, but she was trying to rouse it and get it to stand up. Rhinos have an emotional response to their babies. If a calf is out of their sight, they'll call them and want to know where they are and they'll get anxious if separated.''
Kito remained anxious for the day after being separated from her still-born baby, but has now returned to normal.
Almost extinct 100 years ago, the southern white rhino is now relatively secure thanks to successful conservation efforts. After more than a century of protection, southern white rhinos now number about 20,000. Classified as 'Near Threatened', they're now the only non-endangered rhinos.
Hamilton Zoo is one of the most successful breeding institutions in the Australasian region. Kito will remain part of the breeding herd and should successfully breed again.

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