1010 WINS– A pair of too-cute-to-handle southern white rhinoceroses has been added to the herd this past November at the Wilds Conservation Center in Cumberland, Ohio. The calves are the eighth and ninth fourth-generation white rhinos to be born at the sanctuary – the only facility that has had fourth and fifth generation births of the species outside of Africa.
Although the bouncing baby boys may seem small now, they can grow to be up to 4000 pounds.
White rhinos, once endangered with only about 200 in existence, are now thriving with over 20,000 throughout the world thanks to conservation efforts like this one — which means more adorable babies like these two, running, playing, and exploring their surroundings.
The rhino calves were born to mothers Zenzele and Mustang Sally, along with father Roscoe, just three days apart in mid-November and were the very first to be born in The Wilds’ new rhinoceros barn. Mom Zenzele’s own birth was historic as well as she was the first rhino calf born in The Wilds back in 2004, mothering four calves since then.
The Wilds staff has been monitoring the calves, the 18th and 19th white rhinos born at The Wilds and both appear to be doing very well under their mothers’ care. However, even with the increase in numbers, the species remains classified as near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
All five remaining rhino species in Africa and Asia (white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, greater one-horned rhinoceros, Javan rhinoceros, and Sumatran rhinoceros) are persecuted by poachers who sell rhino horn for ornamental or traditional medicinal purposes even though there are no scientifically proven health benefits for its use.
The horns are made of keratin—the same substance that makes up fingernails and hair. The International Rhino Foundation, which receives support from The Wilds, estimates that one rhino is killed every eight hours for its horn.