(KLTV) - On Christmas Eve, a zoo in Michigan welcomed its newest addition, a boy black rhino calf, and it was all made possible thanks to a partnership with a Tyler zoo from which the calf’s father was transferred.
Phineus, 12, was transferred from Caldwell Zoo in Tyler to Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Mich. in 2017. Phineus and Doppsee, a female black rhino, were matched to breed together through the eastern black rhino Species Survival Plan.
“I’m fortunate enough to work with these beautiful black rhinos we have here and be an everyday part of their life,” said Scotty Stainback, curator of mammals at the Caldwell Zoo.
Phineus was born and raised at Caldwell Zoo. Christa, Phineus’ 34-year-old mother, still resides at the zoo.
“She is the oldest female black rhino in the managed population, currently,” Stainback explained. “[Now] she’s a grandma!”
Phineus and Doppsee’s calf has not been named yet. The baby boy and his mother are currently happy and healthy and spend much of their time bonding, a Potter Park Zoo official has said.
There are about 5,000 black rhinos left in the wild and, according to the eastern black rhino SSP Breeding and Transfer plan, on average in the last 10 years, there are between one and two black rhino calves born in zoos every year. This means Doppsee and Phineus’ calf will be extremely important to the population, according to the Potter Park Zoo.
“[At Caldwell Zoo] we got staff looking at them 24/7,” Stainback said of how the zoo cares for its black rhino population. “Veterinarians are involved. They’re under close observation by veterinarian staff. We do a lot of training with them in their daily training and maintenance.”
Black rhinos inhabit the eastern and southern portions of Africa. They love water, mud, have an excellent sense of smell and are nearsighted. Calves are born weighing between 60 and 75 pounds and grow to weigh about 2,000 to 3,000 pounds during adulthood.
Mom and calf will be out of public viewing for the next few months, but the zoo will be posting updates on social media accounts.
If you’d like to vote for what the new calf will be named, you can visit the Potter Park Zoo’s website.