MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Zoo Miami is celebrating its newest addition, a rare newborn Indian Rhinoceros. It is a historic moment for the Zoo and the world because it is the first successful breeding of this rare species using both insemination and induced ovulation.
“There’ve been artificial inseminations before, but never where we’ve had to actually artificially induce the female, collect the male the semen from the male and then inseminated her the next day with this induced ovulation so the combination of the two is the first time ever,” said Ron Magill, Communication Director for Zoo Miami.
Magill says this is a culmination of a delicate 15-month long pregnancy. Once conception was confirmed, there was close monitoring and ultrasounds for Mom, Akuti.
“We saw from the beginning, you see the spines starting to form, you saw the hooves we could see it moving inside the uterus,” said Magill.
Akuti was under 24-hour surveillance in the days leading up to delivery. This is the first baby for the 7-year-old Greater One Horned Indian Rhino, among only about 3,000 left in the world.
There is no name yet for the baby rhino born shortly at 12:30 am Tuesday morning.
He may not know it but the father is 18-year-old Suru. Magill says numerous attempts at natural breeding between Suru and Akuti just did not work out.
“We would prefer for Akuti to do it the natural way but you know Akuti and Suru for whatever reason didn’t really get along,” said Magill.
Still, sweet success, not only an incredible achievement for the Zoo but Magill says it is also a major moment for conservation worldwide.
“They’re under constant threat from poaching for their horns as all rhinos are, we’re an insurance policy against a very uncertain future in the wild, God forbid these animals get wiped out. We are keeping them isolated right now because we want to make sure that bond develops. We’ve seen the baby nursing very strong,” Magill said.
The baby rhino still has to undergo a neonatal examination to make sure it is healthy and determine the gender, but at first glance, Magill says both mom and baby appeared to be doing well and if all goes as planned, they will both be on public display at the Zoo in a few weeks.