Critically Endangered Eastern Black Rhino Born at Lincoln Park Zoo Is a Male

Lincoln Park Zoo is excited to welcome its latest arrival! On May 19, Kapuki, an eastern black rhinoceros, gave birth to a healthy male calf after 15 month of gestation.

Lincoln Park Zoo is excited to welcome its latest arrival! On May 19, Kapuki, an eastern black rhinoceros, gave birth to a healthy male calf at Regenstein African Journey after 15 month of gestation. Since the birth, the calf has surpassed critical milestones, including standing, nursing, pooping, and following Kapuki.

The first days of a calf’s life are critical, and Animal Care staff is closely monitoring both Kapuki and calf around the clock via a remote camera system and checking on the pair multiple times a day.

“As with any birth, we are cautiously optimistic about the latest arrival,” said Curator of Mammals Mike Murray. “However, this calf stood successfully at only 53 minutes of age and was nursing by hour two. He is growing in size and strength each day.”

Kapuki, 13, was recommended to breed with Maku, 33, as part of the Eastern Black Rhinoceros Survival Plan® (SSP), a collaborative population management effort among Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions. Kapuki and Maku had previously been successful in producing offspring with the birth of King in 2013. As part of an SSP recommendation for the solitary species, King was transferred to Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo in November 2016.

Lincoln Park Zoo is dedicated to rhino conservation and is home to three adult rhinos—Maku, Kapuki, and Ricko—along with its newest arrival.

“Although the calf is adorable, its birth means so much more than that,” said Murray. “Three rhinos are poached in Africa each day for their horns. At this alarming rate, this new calf gives us hope for the sustainability of the species.”

Kapuki and her calf will continue to bond behind-the-scenes throughout the coming weeks. Follow Lincoln Park Zoo’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels and #RhinoWatch for updates, along with the zoo blog and ZooMail, a biweekly news digest.

Gestation for eastern black rhinos is about 14–16 months with offspring weighing around 75 pounds. Typically, black rhinos are a solitary species that only come together to breed. When full grown, eastern black rhinos can stand up to 12 feet long and five feet tall at the shoulder, and can weigh up to 3,000 pounds. Eastern black rhinos are a critically endangered species due to poaching for their horns which are believed to have medicinal benefits despite being made of keratin—the same material that makes up human hair and nails.

For more information about the species and Lincoln Park Zoo’s rhino conservation efforts, visit lpzoo.org. Those interested in helping care for mom and calf all-year long may ADOPT a black rhino or shop the Wish List.

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About Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo inspires communities to create environments where wildlife will thrive in our urbanizing world. The zoo is a leader in local and global conservation, animal care and welfare, learning, and science. A historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo is a privately managed, member-supported nonprofit organization and is free and open 365 days a year. Visit us at lpzoo.org.