Newborn rhino explores zoo exhibit

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(San Diego Zoo)

SAN DIEGO — A newborn rhinoceros and her mother ventured into the Asian Plains exhibit at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park Monday.

The 4-week-old female, named Petunia, stayed close to her mother while exploring the 40-acre habitat.

The greater one-horned rhino, born Aug. 1 to mother Tanaya, weighed only 128 pounds — calves usually weigh 132-176 pounds at birth — so animal care staff kept a 24-hour watch on her.

After putting on some weight, Petunia was ready to leave her protected yard and meet the rest of the rhinos.

Staffers said the baby rhino seemed eager to explore her new habitat and kept up with her mother, following closely behind her.

Once widespread in Southeast Asia, the greater one-horned rhinoceros is now found only in India and Nepal, the zoo said. The species is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with an estimated 3,250 greater one-horned rhinos remaining in the wild.

Petunia is the 67th greater one-horned rhino born at the Safari Park since 1975, making it the foremost breeder of the species.