close
close

Rare white rhinoceros born in Chilean zoo – an endangered species receives new addition

SANTIAGO, Chile — Hannah, a 13-year-old white rhino, has given birth to a newborn calf in a rare zoo birth for this near-endangered species.

The birth of the male calf, named Silverio, two weeks ago marked the third time a white rhino has been born in South America. The Buin Zoo in Chile’s capital Santiago introduced Silverio to the public last week when he took his first steps with giant feet after 12 days of medical care in captivity.

The zoo called his birth a “major achievement” for conservationists worldwide. Only eight other southern white rhinos were born last year.







Chile Zoo White Rhinoceros

Silverio, a 12-day-old white rhino, stands next to his mother Hannah during his presentation Tuesday at the Buin Zoo in Santiago, Chile. The baby rhino’s birth marks the third of this near-endangered species to be born at the Buin.


Esteban Felix, Associated Press


The director of Buin Zoo explained that a series of failed rhino romances in recent times had dashed the hopes of conservationists who had tried to breed the species across the continent. Yet Hannah and Oliver – a pair of southern white rhinos shipped all the way to Santiago from sub-Saharan Africa just over a decade ago – have hit it off and given birth to three calves at this zoo.

People also read…

“There are several zoos in Latin America that have a pair of rhinos that have not managed to reproduce,” said zoo director Ignacio Idalsoaga. “We are contributing a ninth calf to a species that has very few remaining in the wild.”

A team of veterinarians who closely monitored Silverio declared him healthy on Tuesday.

This success story comes at a time when fewer and fewer white rhinos roam the African plains. Northern white rhinos are virtually extinct, although the international scientific community has begun to revive the species through artificial insemination and stem cell research.







APTOPIX Chile Zoo White Rhinoceros

Silverio, a 12-day-old southern white rhino, walks next to his mother Hannah during his presentation on Tuesday at Buin Zoo in Santiago, Chile. Only eight other southern white rhinos were born last year.


Esteban Felix, Associated Press








Chile Zoo Rhino

Silverio’s birth at Buin Zoo in Santiago, Chile, is a “great success” for conservationists worldwide; tThere are currently only just over 10,000 southern white rhinoceros left in the world, the vast majority of them in zoos.


Esteban Felix, Associated Press


Southern white rhinos, close relatives of the northern species and a more widespread species, have been classified as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the world’s leading scientific authority on species status. There are only just over 10,000 individual southern white rhinos left in the world, the vast majority of them in zoos.

That’s still a big improvement from the turn of the 19th century, when the species was hunted almost to extinction. Intensive conservation efforts in recent decades have saved the southern white rhino from extinction, a rare example of a robust recovery in the face of danger.

But that could change, say conservationists, as hunters still kill rhinos for their horns. In addition, the mammals have difficulty reproducing in captivity because the gestation period is 18 months and more than one male is often needed to stimulate reproduction.







Chile Zoo White Rhinoceros

Little Silverio’s success story comes at a time when fewer and fewer white rhinos roam the African plains. Northern white rhinos are virtually extinct, although the international scientific community has begun to revive the species through artificial insemination and stem cell research.


Esteban Felix, Associated Press


Humans are the only enemy of rhinos, reports the International Union for Conservation of Nature. An estimated 1,000 rhinos are killed by hunters each year. About 17 rhinos are born each year.