Endangered Indian Rhinoceros Baby is the First of its Kind Born in Polish Zoo’s 155-Year History

An endangered Indian rhinoceros was born last week in Poland’s Wroclaw Zoo, a hopeful development in efforts to preserve the rare animals.

Born Jan. 6, the female baby is the first Indian rhinoceros birth in the zoo’s 155-year history, the zoo said Wednesday. Its parents are seven-year-old Maruska and an 11-year-old male, Manas.

“Maruska, a first-time mom, behaves wonderfully,” zoo president Radoslaw Ratajszczak was quoted as saying.

“She looks after her daughter, allows her to nurse, and is very delicate, despite weighing more than 2 tons. For example, when she lies down, she’s very careful not to crush the little one, and even gently moves her aside.” Ratajszczak said.

The new baby is being cared for away from the public so far.

The Indian rhinoceros was close to extinction but thanks to a protection program launched in the 1970s there are some 3,600 now, including over 170 living in 66 zoos around the world.

The Indian rhinoceros can stand 3.8 meters ( 12 ft., 5 inches) tall and weigh up to 3 tons. They live in the wet, grassy areas of the northern India. They mainly feed on grass, leaves and twigs but also on fruit and aquatic vegetation.

In September 2020, two extremely rare Javan rhinoceros calves were spotted in an Indonesian national park, boosting hopes for the future of one of the world’s most endangered mammals.

The rhino calves — a female named Helen and male called Luther — were seen with their mothers in footage taken from nearly 100 camera traps installed in Ujung Kulon national park between March and August.

Rhinos, along with other animals like elephants, often become victims of poaching. In South Africa, however, Namibia saw a continued downward trend in rhino and elephant poaching last year after stepping up patrols and sharply increasing fines.

The southern African nation is home to the second-largest white rhino population in the world after South Africa, according to non-profit organisation Save the Rhino Trust. Namibia also holds one-third of the world’s remaining black rhinos.

It is also home to the only free-roaming black rhinos left in the world, who are growing in number after nearly becoming extinct some years ago from poaching and drought. Rhino poaching has plagued southern Africa for decades, especially in South Africa and Botswana, leading to anti-poaching programmes, including de-horning and strict policing.

(With inputs from AP)

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