The San Diego Zoo is letting two baby rhinos explore its outdoor habitat for the first time ever.
Asha, a greater one-horned rhino, gave birth to a male on March 25 at the zoo. Meanwhile, Tanaya, birthed a female just two weeks later, on April 11. The male has been named Arjun, but the female calf is still unnamed.
Zookeepers let Tanaya and Asha along with their calves into the Asia Savana habitat on May 20. The two rhino children were hesitant at first, but eventually, they started to enjoy the mud-filled wallow and other animals like a herd of antelope.
“It’s great to see Asha and Tanaya introducing their calves to other wildlife for the first time,” said Jillian King, senior wildlife care specialist, said in a statement. “Everything is new to the calves right now, so it will be interesting to watch them explore. We will keep a watchful eye on them. And look forward to them meeting more of the wildlife on the savanna soon.”
The greater one-horned rhino is a vulnerable species. Habitat loss, poaching and illegal rhino horn trafficking pose a major threat to their survival. Roughly 3,500 one-horned rhinos remain in the wild, but over 70 percent of the population resides on one reserve in India.
The San Diego Zoo’s mission is to inspire a connection to nature by bringing humans closer to animals. The zoo and its safari park are havens for endangered species who receive care from conservation scientists, veterinarians, nutritionists and horticulturists. The San Diego Zoo has released 44 species back into the wild and has bred 180 rhinos.
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