26 Aug 2020

Auckland Zoo welcomes first rhino birth in 20 years

From Checkpoint, 5:57 pm on 26 August 2020

Auckland Zoo has announced the arrival of its much-anticipated baby rhino, the first calf born at the zoo in 20 years.

The baby girl rhino was born on August 14 and is the first child of 30-year-old southern white rhino, Jamila.

Jamila delivered her baby in just one hour, after a 16-month pregnancy, with the newborn tipping the scales at a healthy 65 kilograms.

Checkpoint reporter Nick Truebridge spoke to Auckland Zoo Ungulates Team Leader Tommy Karlsson and charged in with the question on everyone's mind - what will her name be?

As yet, Karlsson said staff had a list of around 30 names but hadn't settled on one just yet - and they may need a little help.

"We don't have a name at the moment, but we are going to do something for the public to help us find a good name," he said. "So check on social media for updates around that."

However, there's one namesake that probably won't be chosen - the nation's popular Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, as he already has a baby rhino named after him in Botswana, sponsored alcohol by a Kiwi company. 

Despite not having a name yet, Karlsson said the new arrival was doing fantastically and growing bigger every day, 

"You can see that she is getting rounder, her belly is full with milk," he said.

"She's doing great, she's following her mum brilliantly, she suckles regularly, sleeping good, she's getting more and more active every day and moving in between the different yards."

Staff were continuing to observe the baby rhino's eating, sleeping, toileting and how she responded to humans.

"So far it's been perfect, she's been doing everything a baby rhino should do and she's developing just great."