Fresno Chaffee Zoo is anticipating the birth of a Southern white rhinoceros, the first rhino calf in zoo history, officials announced Tuesday.
The calf, expected in about a month, was bred in the zoo before the African Adventure exhibit opened in October 2015.
The rhino calf is from Tim and Kayla, the zoo’s breeding pair. Both moved to Fresno in 2015 for the grand opening of African Adventure.
Kayla was born in 2005 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Fla., while Tim was born in 1996 at San Antonio Zoological Gardens & Aquarium. He came to Fresno from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
The gestation period for a rhinoceros is between 16 and 18 months.
“They were breeding when they got here, before the exhibit opened,” said Ciara Castellanoz, a zoo spokeswoman.
This is Kayla’s third pregnancy.
All of Kayla’s physical indications and behavioral changes point to pregnancy.
Vernon Presley, Fresno Chaffee Zoo curator
“We’re thrilled to be expecting the first rhino calf in our zoo’s history,” said Lyn Myers, general curator at Fresno Chaffee Zoo. “Tim and Kayla are both such charismatic animals.”
Although veterinary staff have been unable to obtain an ultrasound confirming Kayla’s pregnancy, they have been monitoring her behavior closely.
“Since we do not have a hormonal profile on Kayla and the abdominal wall of a rhino is too thick for an abdominal ultrasound, the only way to confirm her pregnancy is through a trans-rectal ultrasound,” said Vernon Presley, curator at Fresno Chaffee Zoo. “That’s not something that Kayla is accepting at this time.
“So, although we haven’t been able to confirm it, all of Kayla’s physical indications and behavioral changes point to pregnancy,” he said.
Kayla will be visible on exhibit intermittently over the next few weeks.
The Southern white rhinoceros is listed as “near threatened.”