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Posted by Tara Henson on 06/22/2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                               JUNE 22, 2014


CONTACTS: Tara Henson: (405) 425-0219, office; (405) 919-9038, cell; or [email protected]

                 Candice Rennels: (405) 425-0298, office; (405) 412-6172, cell; or [email protected]




Baby Rhino and Mom       It’s a rhino! It’s a boy rhino! Niki, the Zoo’s 7-year-old female, greater one-horned Indian rhinoceros gave birth at 5:20 p.m. on Saturday, June 21. Mom Niki came to the Zoo in 2009 from the Bronx Zoo and father Chandra, 28, has been at the Zoo since 1990. The new male calf is the first offspring for Niki and the fourth Indian rhino born at the Zoo since the Zoo added the species in 1981.

       The gestation period for Indian rhinos is approximately 16 months. The average birth weight for an Indian rhino calf is 120 pounds.  Newborn Indian rhinos lack the distinctive horn of the adult rhino. Instead, they have a flat, smooth oval plate that eventually forms into a horn.

       Both mother and baby are doing well and are experiencing an important bonding phase. “The first few days after birth are most important,” said Laura Bottaro, Zoo curator. “During this time, the calf begins to nurse regularly and the mother learns how to nurture her calf. Zoo staff is monitoring the pair around the clock and the Pachyderm building may be closed for a few days to allow some quiet time.”  Zoo guests may or may not be able to see Niki and her calf over the next few days. This will be determined by the comfort level of the animals and their behavior.

       “This birth is particularly notable since father Chandra is the only living offspring of a wild-born female that is no longer alive,” said Bottaro.  “The new calf represents vital genetic material critical to the future survival of the species.”

       Native to northeast India and Nepal, the Indian rhinoceros is an endangered species due to habitat loss and poachers who sell the rhino’s horn for medicinal use in Asia and for dagger handles in the Middle East.  The Indian rhino has only one horn and its thick folds of skin give it an armor-plated look.  Approximately 2,400 Indian rhinos are left in the world.

       Because only five species of rhinos exist today and extinction is a real possibility, the Zoo supports rhino conservation and hosts its annual Bowling For Rhinos fundraiser, sponsored by the Zoo's chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers .  This year’s event will be Saturday, July 19, at 7 p.m. at Heritage Lanes in Oklahoma City. Learn more at One hundred percent of the proceeds from Bowling For Rhino benefits rhino conservation projects in Asia and Africa.  With the help of the dedicated citizens of Oklahoma, the Zoo has raised more than $250,000 for rhino conservation through this event. Other Zoo Conservation Action Now initiatives that help rhino conservation include the PanEco Foundation and Lekurriki Conservation Trust through the Northern Rangelands Trust.

       The Zoo participates in the Greater One-Horned Asian Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan (SSP), developed by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA).  The SSP is a cooperative effort among AZA accredited zoos throughout North America created to help promote genetic diversity and manage population numbers within the species. 

       Help keep the tradition rolling! Join us for the 20th annual Bowling For Rhinos on Saturday, July 19, at 7 p.m. The Zoo is a proud member of Oklahoma City’s Adventure District located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Buildings close at 4:45 p.m. daily. Regular admission is $8 for adults, and $5 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Become a Zoo fan , or follow us on Instagram and Twitter @okczoo. To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit



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The Zoo is a fully accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the American Association of Museums (AAM) as both a living museum and a botanical garden. AZA accredited facilities are dedicated to providing excellent care for their plants and animals, a great experience for guests and a better future for all living things.

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