The Indianapolis Colts may have lost any hope of making it to the Super Bowl last month, but the city celebrated a different sort of win this Super Bowl Sunday: the birth of a white rhinoceros calf.
Mom Zenzele, 19, gave birth at around 9:15 a.m., local time, the Indianapolis Zoo said. Zenzele’s newborn is her seventh calf, but the zoo’s first baby rhino.
“Zenzele is an experienced and confident mom and everything is going very well,” senior rhinoceros keeper Amber Berndt said.
The zoo has not yet shared information about the baby rhino’s sex. Keepers said Zenzele is relaxed and her calf is doing well.
The zoo is now home to a herd of five rhinoceroses, including Spike, Mambo and Gloria, who is also Zenzele’s grandmother, according to the zoo. Zenzele and her baby will spend time together before they’re introduced to the rest of the herd in the spring.
The calf’s father, Kengele, lives at The Wilds, which is home base for the American Institute of Rhinoceros Science. Zenzele had also lived at The Wilds in Ohio until she came to the Indianapolis Zoo in June.
Zoo workers describe the mom’s personality as laid back, but very outgoing and curious. She also enjoys getting pets and scratches.
White rhino pregnancies last for a whopping 16 to 18 months. Newborns weigh between 100 and 150 pounds.
The zoo shared the news of Zenzele’s pregnancy last month. Rhinoceros care staff at the zoo started overnight watches this month after Zenzele began producing milk and showing signs of impending labor.
Southern white rhinos are classified as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. They are the only one of the five rhino species that are not considered endangered, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.
“The number of white rhinoceroses in the wild continue to decline, and it is crucial to raise awareness for their plight,” Indianapolis Zoo President and CEO Dr. Robert Shumaker said when announcing Zenzele’s pregnancy. “The historic birth of this calf will be a symbol of hope for the conservation of rhinoceroses around the world.”
Aliza Chasan is a digital producer at 60 Minutes and CBSNews.com. She has previously written for outlets including PIX11 News, The New York Daily News, Inside Edition and DNAinfo. Aliza covers trending news, often focusing on crime and politics.
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