The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has given its new baby rhino a chance to do what all kids love: play in the mud.
The zoo says Edward, a 14-day-old southern white rhino, got his first chance Friday to experience a wallow in the mud — something rhinos do to keep cool and protect themselves from sun and bugs.
Keepers created the wallow. They say Edward watched his mother, Victoria, roll in the mud and quickly figured out what to do.
“It’s so exciting to see these instinctive behaviors—just days after he entered this world,” said Jonnie Capiro, lead keeper, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
After his mud bath Edward was able to practice some chute training needed to make it possible for keepers to provide routine care using protected contact, San Diego Zoo Safari Park explained.
They also weighed Edward. He clocked in at 215 pounds — a gain of 67 pounds since his birth on July 28 at a rescue center.
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"The significance of this calf is, he’s the third calf ever born from artificial insemination(AI), the second born from frozen thawed sperm and the first calf born by AI in North America,” said Parker Pennington, Ph.D., post doctorial associate in Reproductive Sciences at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research.
There are about 18,000 southern white rhinos left in the wild and only two northern white rhinos are left, both females.
Victoria is one of six female southern white rhinos that reside at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center.