Oklahoma City Zoo welcomes baby rhino

The 120-pound male was born over the weekend.
by Matt Patterson Modified: June 23, 2014 at 5:32 pm •  Published: June 23, 2014
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Niki, an Indian rhino, tends to her offspring, a 120-pound male born Saturday night at the Oklahoma City Zoo. The baby rhino has not been named. PHOTO PROVIDED BY OKLAHOMA CITY ZOO
  

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Niki, an Indian rhino, tends to her offspring, a 120-pound male born Saturday night at the Oklahoma City Zoo. The baby rhino has not been named. PHOTO PROVIDED BY OKLAHOMA CITY ZOO -

The 120-pound male has not been named. He is the off-spring of Niki, the zoo’s 7-year-old rhino who came to Oklahoma City in 2009 by way of an exchange program with the Bronx Zoo. The father is Chandra, a 28-year-old rhino who has been at the zoo since 1990.

Saturday’s birth is the first offspring for Niki and the fourth Indian rhino born at the zoo since it added the species to its collection in 1981.

Both mother and baby are doing well, zoo officials said.

“The first few days after birth are the most important,” zoo curator Laura Bottaro said. “During this time, the calf begins to nurse regularly and the mother learns how to nurture her calf. Zoo staff is monitoring the pair around the clock.”

The zoo’s Pachyderm Building may be closed for several days to allow mother and son some quiet time, Bottaro said. Zoo guests may be able to see Niki and her calf over the next few days depending on their behavior and comfort level.

The birth of the rhino is also notable because of the animal’s dwindling population in the wild. There are an estimated 2,400 Indian rhinos left in the world. The animal is native to northeast India and Nepal. It has one horn and thick folds of skin that give the animal its armored appearance.

by Matt Patterson
Reporter
Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun....
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