Black Rhino Birth

Critically-Endangered Black Rhino Born at Lincoln Park Zoo

(Chicago – August 29, 2013) It’s a boy! Lincoln Park Zoo is thrilled to report the birth of an Eastern black rhinoceros calf on August 26. Weighing in at around 60 pounds at birth, he is certainly a big bundle of joy.
First time mom Kapuki, 8, was recommended to breed with 27-year-old Maku by the Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding and management strategy overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The male calf is the first to be born at Lincoln Park Zoo since 1989.
“Mother and baby are both doing wonderfully,” said Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “The calf divides his time between nursing, following mom around, and napping, and that is exactly what a baby rhino should be doing.”
Black rhinos are critically endangered and were nearly driven to extinction in the 1990s. They are a major target for poachers, mainly due to a misconception in some cultures that their horns have medicinal value. Recent estimates put the total number of wild black rhinos at around 5,000.
“This birth is cause for great celebration here at Lincoln Park Zoo and has been much anticipated,” said Kamhout. “The gestational period for rhinos is 15-16 months, and they have incredibly small windows for conception. Together with the zoo’s endocrinologists, we worked to pinpoint the exact window for Kapuki and Maku to get together for breeding. The whole zoo family is delighted at this successful outcome.”
Lincoln Park Zoo is dedicated to rhino conservation and is home to three adult Eastern black rhinos. The zoo has been housing critically endangered black rhinos since 1982. In addition to working closely with the SSP, Lincoln Park Zoo supports rhinos through field work in their native South Africa. The information zoo scientists gather on rhino hormone levels, parasites, and sleep patterns increases global understanding of how to manage and conserve the species.
Kapuki and her calf will be bonding behind the scenes at the Harris Family Foundation Black Rhinoceros Habitat for the next couple of weeks. Keep an eye on the zoo’s social media outlets and website for news about the baby and a public debut date.

Media Contacts:       

Sharon Dewar                     
(312) 742-2246              

Tiffany Ruddle
(312) 742-5791


Lincoln Park Zoo, a historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, is dedicated to connecting people with nature by providing a free, family-oriented wildlife experience. A leader in conservation science both globally and locally, the zoo exemplifies the highest quality animal care and educational outreach. The not-for-profit zoo, managed by The Lincoln Park Zoological Society, is a member-supported organization and one of the nation’s only free, privately managed zoos. For more information, call 312 -742-2000 or visit


Click here to download MPEG-4 video. (.MP4, 90MB)

Photos and Video credited to Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo August 28, 2013