LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Potter Park Zoo in Lansing is getting worldwide attention because of one of its newest members.
Late last month the zoo welcomed a black rhino calf and the staff there says this is their first ever successful breeding.
It was 5:40 in the morning on Christmas Eve when what some would call “a miracle” took place.
“A huge deal for all of us here,” said Pat Fountain, the animal care supervisor at Potter Park Zoo. “It’s very, very special. It’s really a milestone mark for the zoo as a whole.”
Reports show less than 5,000 black rhinos are alive in the wild today and earlier this week, just 53 of them lived in captivity in the United States.
That was until Potter Park Zoo added one more to that list.
“It’s been really exciting this past week with the arrival of our new baby calf,” said Fountain.
The zoo’s 12-year-old female rhino gave birth to her very first calf: a male.
Fountain says black rhinos are critically endangered worldwide, largely due to illegal hunting.
“The numbers add to a little over a thousand a year die from poaching, so the population, it’s very difficult for the population to keep up with the poaching,” said Fountain.
So to be on the other end of the spectrum and working to help save our earth’s rhinos, Fountain says is very rewarding.
“Not only are we trying to preserve rhinos here at the zoo, which we are very, very excited about, we’re also working hard to help preserve rhinos in the wild in their natural habitat,” said Fountain.
If you’d like to see the baby rhino for yourself, Potter Park officials say it does have to stay inside of a barn for a while due to the cold weather, but should be ready for the public in early Spring.