Florida zoo announces birth of southern white rhino

TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida zoo announced the birth of a southern white rhino, the eighth to be born in Tampa as part of a plan to help species.

Officials at ZooTampa at Lowry Park said the baby was born to a 20-year-old rhino named Alake last week. The female calf has not been named yet, but both baby and mother are healthy and doing well.

“The baby rhino appears to be strong and is nursing alongside her mother,” the zoo said in a statement posted on its Facebook page Saturday.

Alake was paired with the only adult male in the Tampa zoo, Ongava. Their calf will join the crash, or group of rhinos, in the coming weeks, zoo officials said. Visitors will be able to see the baby rhino in the new Expedition Wild Africa attraction, set to open soon.

The zoo says the white rhino population had dropped in the early 20th century to between 50 and 200, but conservation efforts made the population increase to 20,400 in Africa. White rhinos are still classified as near-threatened because of habitat loss and poaching for their horns.

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