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Rare white rhino born at Virginia Zoo

NORFOLK, Va. — Zina the rhinoceros has given birth at the Virginia Zoo.

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The new female calf, who weighs about 100 pounds, was born on Nov. 9 at 5:40 a.m., according to WAVY. She is the second calf for Zena, 10, and father Sibindi, 17.

She’s also the younger sister of Miso, a male, who was the first southern white rhino ever born at the zoo in 2021, the TV station reported.

“Zina is an incredible mom,” said Emily Spence, assistant curator of Africa at the Virginia Zoo.

Spence said Zina is still protective of her new calf, but is much calmer around the staff than she was with her first. She said it’s a testament to the job done by the zoo’s Africa Team who work hard to bond with the animals in their care.

“The team is enjoying watching the baby’s personality come through more and more each day and can’t wait to share her with zoo guests,” Spence said, as reported by WTKR.

Zina was examined after birth and found to be a healthy female. She will stay in the night barn with her mother for monitoring for a few weeks, WTKR reported.

The southern white rhino was thought to be extinct in the 19th century until a small group of fewer than 100 were discovered in South Africa, according to worldwildlife.com. They are now classified as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature -- about 18,000 exist in protected areas and privately owned game preserves. The rhinos are in danger of poaching because their horns are of value on the black market.

The northern white rhino is not as lucky. There are believed to be only two left in the world, and both are females.

That’s why the birth is exciting for the survival of the species. Sibindi was born in South Africa and Zina was born in a Singapore zoo. That diversity of genetics will help the southern white rhinos to survive through continued growth of the population, WAVY reported.

You can read more about the rhino family and plan your trip at the zoo’s website.