PHOTOS: Baby rhino settles in with mom at Safari Park exhibit

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SAN DIEGO — A nearly 7-week-old greater one-horned rhino calf and her mother barreled into their Asian Savanna field exhibit at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park for the first time Wednesday. The female calf, Carole, and her mother, Asha, had been in a protected area called a boma since the calf’s birth June 22. The animals’ one-on-one time allowed them to properly bond before interacting with other animals in their new 40-acre habitat, according to the zoo. The rhinos exited the boma and took a cool dip in a mud wallow before encountering other habitat animals, including gaur and nilgai, and surveying hilly terrain. The greater one-horned rhino differs from other species, as it has an armor-plated appearance actually composed of one layer of skin with many folds. The creatures were once widespread in Southeast Asia, but are now only found in India and Nepal. The species is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, mainly due to habitat loss, poaching and illegal rhino horn trafficking. There are an estimated 3,500 greater one-horned rhinos left in the wild, with more than 70 percent residing in an Indian reserve. The creatures typically prefer humid, swampy, tall-grass habitats, where they can graze on plant material and disperse seeds in their dung.

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