Black rhino transferred from Tyler zoo fathers Michigan zoo’s first calf in 100 years

Black rhino transferred from Tyler zoo fathers Michigan zoo’s first calf in 100 years

(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.

Black rhino transferred from Tyler zoo fathers Michigan zoo’s first calf in 100 years

“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.

Critically Endangered Black Rhino Calf Born at Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, MI

For the first time in our 100 year history, a black rhino calf has been born at Potter Park Zoo! Doppsee gave birth at 5:40 a.m. this morning (December 24). Animal care and veterinary staff are happy to report that the calf stood up about an hour and a half after birth and appears to be nursing well. Doppsee and her son (it's a boy!) are bonding behind the scenes in the rhino barn at Potter Park Zoo and will not be visible to the public until weather allows in the spring of 2020. There are just over 50 black rhinos in the care of AZA-accredited zoos. On average less than two black rhino calves are born in human care each year, making every calf born vital to this critically endangered population.

Posted by Potter Park Zoo on Tuesday, December 24, 2019

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.

WEBXTRA: Black rhino transferred from Tyler fathers Michigan zoo's first calf in 100 years

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