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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – This Thanksgiving, Zoo Miami has some special to be thankful for.
“Akuti,” their six-year-old greater one horned rhinoceros, is pregnant.
Though every pregnancy is special, this one is extra special. Akuti was artificially inseminated on January 9th and if she successfully brings this pregnancy to term, it will be the first time in the U.S. that a greater one horned rhinoceros gives birth to a calf conceived through induced ovulation.
The pregnancy was initially confirmed on March 24th through an ultrasound. Since then, the fetus has been growing normally and now everything from distinct ribs and a backbone to a strong beating heart can be seen.
With a gestation of close to 16 months, the due date for this very special baby is sometime in April of 2019.
Akuti, which means “Princess” in Hindu, was born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on January 20th, 2012 and arrived at Zoo Miami in December of 2015. This is her first pregnancy.
The 17-year-old father of the expected baby is “Suru,” who like Akuti, was born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. He arrived at Zoo Miami in 2003. Following the successful insemination of Akuti, Suru’s sperm was also used to successfully inseminate a female at the Buffalo Zoo that is also now expecting. Suru has had two previous offspring at Zoo Miami and Zoo Miami has had a total of four baby greater one horned rhinos born – all females!
The greater one horned rhino is found in Northern India and Nepal and is considered vulnerable due to poaching for its horn that is believed to have medicinal powers by some cultures and used as status defining dagger handles in others. It grows to be one of the largest of the world’s rhinos with males exceeding 4,000 pounds.