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Virginia Zoo announces its first white rhino birth

July 20, 2021 GMT
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This undated photo provided by the Virginia Zoo shows its first baby Southern white rhinoceros, foreground, which the zoo announced the male calf was born to mom, Zina, and dad, Sibindi, on July 11, 2021, in Norfolk, Va. The new calf needs a name, so the zoo is auctioning off the right to name him. The auction runs through July 30 and proceeds will go to the International Rhino Foundation. (Virginia Zoo via AP)
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This undated photo provided by the Virginia Zoo shows its first baby Southern white rhinoceros, foreground, which the zoo announced the male calf was born to mom, Zina, and dad, Sibindi, on July 11, 2021, in Norfolk, Va. The new calf needs a name, so the zoo is auctioning off the right to name him. The auction runs through July 30 and proceeds will go to the International Rhino Foundation. (Virginia Zoo via AP)

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Zoo is welcoming its first baby Southern white rhinoceros.

The male calf was born to mom, Zina, and dad, Sibindi, on July 11, zoo officials announced Monday. He is strong, nursing well and is bonding with his mother, who is showing signs of good mothering, officials said. The calf is the first of his species to be born at the Virginia Zoo and his birth brings the zoo’s rhino count to four.

The zoo’s veterinarian Dr. Tara Reilly examined the calf about 36 hours after he was born and he weighed in at 125 pounds or 57 kilograms. He is 22 inches (56 cm) tall and 36 inches (91 cm) long.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the species as near threatened because of threats in the wild due to habitat loss and illegal poaching of their horns.

The new calf needs a name, so the zoo is auctioning off the right to name him. The auction runs through July 30 and proceeds will go to the International Rhino Foundation.