SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KRON) — A 100-pound white rhino calf was born in Santa Rosa on Sunday evening, and she’s the first calf born on the premises at Safari West, the park announced in a press release.
The baby rhino, born to mom and dad Eesha and Ongava, arrived around 5:30 p.m. The rhino calf is now nursing and bonding well with mom Eesha. The baby girl has not yet been named.
“We feel fortunate and honored to contribute to the growth of global rhino populations and aid in the conservation of this magnificent protected species.” — Safari West
Mother rhino Eesha arrived at Safari West back in the summer of 2008. Since then, tens of thousands of visitors have seen her and learned more about the plight that rhinos currently face in the wild.
Eesha didn’t show much interest in the male rhinos at Safari West until 2021 when she was introduced to newcomer Ongava. The two rhinos were seen “displaying the assertive behaviors often seen in rhino courtship,” and by 2022, staff could see Eesha was pregnant.
The gestation period for rhinos is long, ranging from 16-18 months. Safari West veterinarian, Dr. Emily Cehrs, trained Eesha to stand still so that weekly ultrasounds and hormone monitoring could be completed to ensure the health of mother and baby. In the days that led up the the birth, staff members stayed with Eesha around the clock to ensure she and the calf would have support.
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Welcoming a new white rhino, even in captivity, is worthy of celebration. White rhinos are considered “Near Threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to large habitat loss and illegal poaching of their horns.