County Commissioner Robert Weinroth’s office is happy to have released the BIG news!
Lion Country Safari welcomed a Southern White Rhino male calf to its herd on November 17e, 2021, the second calf born at the park this year. He is an important contribution to the White Rhino Species Survival Plan, a national collaboration to save endangered species from extinction. The calf, named Josh, and his mother both spend quality time bonding in a maternity area, visible to guests from their cars on the drive-through safari.
Lion Country Safari takes care of one of the largest rhino herds in the country with a long history of breeding success. The baby is the 5th child born to mum Bloom, 22, and he is 38e Rhino calf born in the park since 1979. Bloom’s family line is considered under-represented in the population; the genes of each offspring are important for the overall diversity and health of the population under human care and for the conservation of the species.
During the 1970s, this species was on the verge of extinction with fewer than 1,000 individuals on the planet. Today, thanks to collaborative multinational breeding and protection efforts, there are approximately 20,000 white rhinos and each new birth contributes to their continued conservation.
Rhinoceros mothers give birth to a single calf weighing between 88 and 132 pounds (40-60 kg). The calf should gain 3 to 4 pounds (1 to 2 kg) per day from its mother’s milk and will gain approximately 1000 pounds (450 kg) per year for the first three years. Baby rhino nurse for almost two years.
Of the five rhino species (White, Black, Indian, Sumatra and Javan), the white rhino is the most abundant, but all 5 species are at risk mainly due to poaching. Lion Country Safari is home to 15 white rhinos – 11 females and 4 males and is a proud participant in the White Rhino Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program of the Zoo and Aquarium Associations (AZA). The SSP ensures the survival of a genetically healthy population of white rhinos if threats worsen in the wild.