A baby eastern black rhino born at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden has already taken its first steps after becoming only the fifth calf to be born in North America in the last two years.
“Kendi,” which means ‘loved one’ in Swahili, was born at 5:05 a.m. Monday, with the entire birth caught on surveillance cameras placed inside the rhino barn.
Kendi can be seen standing up in a wobbly fashion shortly after its birth with a minor stumble, landing on its bottom.
But it wasn't long before the calf grasped its first steps.
The bonding between Kendi's mother, Seyia, and calf is crucial, so zoo staffers are keeping their distance from the pair. This means that they will be unable to confirm the gender of the calf, for now.
“Every rhino calf born is incredibly important for the population, which includes fewer than 60 in North America,” said Christina Gorsuch, curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo in a Press Release.
The eastern black rhinos are currently critically endangered from poaching and habitat loss. There are less than 5,000 left in the world, and breeding can be a long process.
“Calves will stay with their mothers for 3-4 years which means that the average female can only have one calf every five years,” said Christina Gorsuch. “This calf is only the fifth eastern black rhino born in the last two years in North America. Only one surviving calf was born in 2014/2015.”
The Cincinnati Zoo says the two will be on display in a few weeks in an outside habitat and Kendi's papa, Faru, will be there as well.
However, there are no plans to unite the trio because black rhinos are highly introverted.
Seyia’s gestation period lasted 15 months and her labor lasted just 30 minutes.
The zoo encourages the public to check back for updates on Kendi by taking a look at their website, CincinnatiZoo.org, and their social media accounts.