SAN DIEGO — His weight at his Nov. 27 birth was 160 pounds and he didn’t put on many pounds after two weeks of nursing, so staff at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park are bottle-feeding the now-3-week-old greater one-horned rhinoceros calf.
That species of rhino can weigh up to about 176 pounds at birth.
Park officials said they noticed the calf wasn’t gaining much weight from nursing by his mother, so they put him in the animal care center, where he can be watched around the clock. He’s up to 190 pounds after being bottle-fed every two hours, according to the zoo.
“We’re bottle-feeding him because his mother, Kaya, wasn’t producing enough milk,” said animal keeper Jennifer Minichino. “So we decided to bring him here to give him extra bottles, to make sure he grows up big and strong.”
Visitors to the Safari Park can see the baby rhino at the animal care center nursery corral between 12:15 p.m. and 12:45 p.m. daily, weather permitting, when he is brought out to exercise.
Once widespread in Southeast Asia, the greater one-horned rhinoceros is now found only in India and Nepal, park officials said.
The species is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to poaching threats and the illegal use of rhino horn. There are an estimated 3,250 greater one-horned rhinos remaining in the wild.
The male calf is the 68th greater one-horned rhino born at the Safari Park since 1975.
Rhino conservation efforts were dealt a blow Sunday when a member of another form of the species, a northern white rhino, died at the park — leaving just five left in the world. Park officials believe Angalifu, believed to be about 44 years old, died of old age.