ASHEBORO, N.C. (WNCN) - Friday the 13th was a lucky day for the North Carolina Zoo as they welcomed the birth of their second southern white rhino in the last two weeks, according to a press release from the Zoo in Asheboro.
The calf was born in the overnight hours of Friday in the Watani Grasslands habitat at the Zoo, according to the Zoo.
Zookeepers said the new rhino appears to be healthy and doing well. She's expected to gain 100 pounds every month in her first year and could weigh anywhere from 3,500 pounds to 5,500 pounds - more than two tons - when fully grown.
The habitat where the calf was born was specifically created in 2008 as a breeding area for the rhino herd, according to the press release.
The first calf was born on July 2, just one day after Guy Lichty, the long-time Curator of Mammals, retired, according to the release. Lichty had helped lead the rhino breeding program for 25 years.
The N.C. Zoo has had rhinos since 1976. The species was nearly hunted to extinction in the beginning of the 20th century, according to the press release.
“Congratulations again to the North Carolina Zoo on this second birth of a southern white rhino. The Zoo’s efforts to save this species are yet another example of the leadership role the Zoo plays in conserving important species both at home and around the world,” said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in the press release.
Rhinos are the second-largest land mammal after elephants and only give birth every two to five years, the Zoo said. Rhinos can grow to be 12-13 feet long and up to 6 feet from hoof to shoulder. They can live up to 50 years and run up to 30 mph.