Critically-endangered black rhino calf is born on New Year’s Eve at Kansas City Zoo

The Kansas City Zoo had a special beginning to the year: Last week, it announced the birth of a critically-endangered rhinoceros calf on Dec. 31.

On New Year’s Eve morning, Zuri, an eastern black rhinoceros, gave birth to a calf. According to the zoo, mom and baby are “doing well.”

To give the mother and the calf time to bond, the rhino barn is being kept quiet with very few human interaction. After they’ve had some bonding time, a neonatal test will be conducted to determine the baby’s gender and general health.

In the spring of 2018, Zuri and the calf’s father, Ruka, moved to Kansas City from an Oregon zoo.

A female rhino will be pregnant for 15 to 17 months before giving birth, according to Save the Rhino, a foundation dedicated to rhinoceros conservation.

The organization said, rhinoceros calves will remain with their mother for 2 – 4 years. In the wild, black rhinos can live between 30 to 35 years, while in captivity, they can live for 35 to 45 years or longer.

The birth of the calf is even more remarkable given that there are only 740 eastern black rhinoceroses surviving in the wild. According to Save the Rhino, the main dangers to the animal are poaching and the absence of a secure habitat.

Poachers target rhinos for their horns, which are used to make herbal treatments in Asia.

Kansas City Zoo said that it will update its social media sites with new pictures and information about the calf. The public will have a chance to participate in naming the calf once its gender is determined.