#RhinoWatch: A BIG New Arrival

May 21, 2019

For the last several months, the zoo and its supporters have been patiently awaiting the arrival of an eastern black rhinoceros calf. On May 19, after 15 months of pregnancy, Kapuki gave birth to a healthy calf—exciting news for the critically endangered species.

As #RhinoWatch continues, we will post a timeline and updates as the calf begins its journey at Lincoln Park Zoo. In the meantime, our Animal Care and veterinary staff continue to monitor Kapuki and the calf around the clock via a remote camera system that gives the rhinos privacy.

May 19

  • Kapuki’s water breaks and she goes into labor.
  • After 15 months of pregnancy and a relatively short labor, Kapuki gives birth to a healthy calf in the evening.

May 20

  • The zoo shares that the calf stood on its own after only 53 minutes!

  • The calf has been observed nursing several times; photos are shared.

May 21

  • Zoological Manager Cassy Kutilek is able snap a quick photo of the calf while replenishing Kapuki’s food supply.

May 24

  • ​The rhino calf *passes* a milestone of another kind—its first feces! Fecal matter plays an important role in the monitoring of stress and hormone levels.

May 30

  • The zoo shares that the calf is male! The first video of the calf is shared as Kapuki and the calf bond behind the scenes at Regenstein African Journey.

June 1

  • Kapuki’s calf turns two weeks old!

June 18

  • The little rhino calf makes his debut!…kind of. Kapuki and the calf are hesitant to explore their outdoor habitat and peek out the barn door.


June 20

  • The rhino calf learns positive reinforcement target training and steps on a scale for the first time. He weights 174 pounds.

June 23

  • The zoo shares footage of the calf being born behind the scenes at Regenstein African Journey.

July 3

  • Romeo, Romeo. The zoo announces a long-time zoo supporter’s chosen name for the calf.

July 22

  • Since his birth, Romeo grows in size and strength each day! During a positive reinforcement training session, Romeo stepped on the scale, weighing in at 270.6 pounds, nearly a hundred more than the previous month.

July 25

  • Romeo begins to spend more time exploring and playing in the outdoor habitat at Regenstein African Journey with Kapuki.

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