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Potter Park welcomes the birth of endangered rhino calf; first-ever born at the zoo

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Posted at 4:49 PM, Dec 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-24 17:00:47-05

LANSING, Mich. — It was a special day at Potter Park Zoo Tuesday.

For the first time in the 100 year-history of the zoo, a critically endangered black rhino calf has been born.

The rhino was born at 5:40 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24.

Doppsee, the zoo's 12-year-old female black rhino gave birth to her very first calf, which is a boy.

"As this is Doppsee’s first pregnancy, the animal care and veterinary staff will continue to monitor Doppsee and her calf closely in the next few weeks. But so far, the rhino calf appears healthy and we have observed frequent nursing shortly after the birth, which is encouraging,” Potter Park Zoo veterinarian Dr. Ronan Eustace said.

The zoo said the mother and calf are "bonding behind the scenes in the rhino barn" and will not be available for viewing by the public until the weather allows for it in the spring of 2020.

The zoo says black rhinos as a species are being "pushed to the brink of extinction by illegal poaching and loss of habitat."

The zoo says current estimates show that only about 5,000 individual black rhinos are alive today.

"This is a monumental moment for Potter Park Zoo that has taken our staff years of planning and hard work. We are dedicated to conserving rhinos and couldn’t be more excited about this successful black rhino birth,” said Cynthia Wagner, Director of Potter Park Zoo.

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