Rare Eastern Black Rhinoceros Born at Lincoln Park Zoo

Kapuki, an eastern black rhinoceros at Lincoln Park Zoo, gave birth to a calf May 19. (Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo) Kapuki, an eastern black rhinoceros at Lincoln Park Zoo, gave birth to a calf May 19. (Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo)

After 15 months of pregnancy, Lincoln Park Zoo rhinoceros Kapuki gave birth to a new calf Sunday.

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The 13-year-old eastern black rhinoceros had a relatively quick labor, according to the zoo. After her water broke, animal care and veterinary staff monitored Kapuki from cameras to give her privacy but remained nearby in case any issues arose.

The newborn calf stood up on all four legs just 53 minutes after birth, according to the zoo. The unnamed calf, whose sex has yet to be determined, also began nursing within a day of birth.

A newborn rhino calf at Lincoln Park Zoo stood on all four legs just 53 minutes after birth. (Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo) A newborn rhino calf at Lincoln Park Zoo stood on all four legs just 53 minutes after birth. (Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo)

The calf’s arrival is a major development for the critically endangered species, with an estimated 5,000 to 5,400 individuals living in the wild, mainly in East Africa.

Eastern black rhinos are frequently poached for their horns, which in some regions are thought to have medicinal benefits despite being made of keratin, the same material that makes up human hair and nails.

The rhino calf is the second offspring for Kapuki and Maku, the 33-year-old sire. The pair welcomed son King in 2013.

A newborn rhino calf nurses from mother Kapuki at Lincoln Park Zoo. (Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo) A newborn rhino calf nurses from mother Kapuki at Lincoln Park Zoo. (Courtesy Lincoln Park Zoo)

Newborns typically weigh about 85 pounds, but eastern black rhinos can grow to about 3,000 pounds (standing up to 12 feet long and 5 feet tall at the shoulder).

The zoo’s animal care and veterinary team will continue to monitor Kapuki and the new calf remotely via video camera. The two rhinos will not be visible to the public until further notice.

Contact Alex Ruppenthal: @arupp aruppenthal@wttw.com | (773) 509-5623


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