It’s always a momentous occasion to share news of a successful animal birth at Walt Disney World Resort. Today, I would like to introduce you to an adorable baby white rhino, born to first-time mom Jao backstage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Mom and baby are doing great under the keepers’ watchful and joyful eyes. I am happy to report that the beautiful calf snuggled up to mom and began nursing right away.
While we give Jao and her baby boy ample time to bond, it will be a little while before we know the calf’s weight. Typically, white rhino calves can weigh as much as 140 pounds at birth. Did you know that the majestic rhinos are the world’s second largest land animal?
Rhinoceros also have one of the longest gestation periods of any mammal – approximately 16 to 18 months. Our animal care team’s veterinarians, scientists and animal keepers kept a close eye on Jao throughout her pregnancy, conducting regular checkups and ultrasounds to ensure a safe birth.
Jao was paired with dad Dugan, the bull of the herd, through one of the Species Survival Plans, which are overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to ensure the responsible breeding of endangered species. This birth is a true milestone for this endangered species. And our herd continues to grow. This delivery marks the 12th rhino born at Disney, and the second rhino born in the last year. And even more hooves are on the horizon as another first-time mom, Lola, is expected to give birth this fall.
In the coming weeks, Jao and baby are expected to join the “crash” (a group of rhinos), in their habitat on the Harambe Wildlife Reserve where park guests can catch a glimpse of the herd while aboard Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Be sure to check the Disney Parks Blog as we will continue to share updates on these rhino births and more animal news!