It's time for tiny trumpets and big smiles at the Oregon Zoo! On a cozy Monday night, something magical happened: the lovely 11-year-old eastern black rhino, Jozi, became a first-time mom to an adorable 100-pound baby! This tiny wonder is not just a bundle of joy but a beacon of hope for critically endangered rhinos everywhere.
Just before bedtime on Dec. 4, at 9:30 p.m., the maternity den lit up with excitement as the little one made a grand entrance into the world. Jozi, a supermom in the making, and her baby are snuggling up, getting to know each other in their special, behind-the-scenes cozy corner. Chad Harmon, The Oregon Zoo's rhino area's loving supervisor, shared, “The most satisfying thing for me is to see Jozi taking such great care of her baby. These first few days are especially critical, so we’re being very cautious and giving them as much quiet time as possible.”
For now, Jozi and her tiny star are enjoying some private family time, bonding away from the curious eyes of zoo visitors. The animal-care team is giving them all the space they need while keeping a gentle watch to ensure everything is just perfect. The little one is already nursing like a champ, so vets are giving them a thumbs-up from a distance. The gender of the new 100 lb. addition is still a mystery, so we can only wish for the big reveal in the near future.
“Our care staff and veterinary team have prepared for this day, giving Jozi everything she needed for a successful birth,” Harmon said. “They’re ready to help if needed, but thankfully, Jozi’s doing a great job all by herself so far.”
While this tiny rhino is still too little for adventures on Rhino Ridge, just wait until it's a bit bigger and the sun's shining warmer – there will be so much fun in store!
Harmon, who's like a guardian angel for rhinos, is part of a global effort to protect these magnificent creatures. Kelly Gomez, who watches over the Oregon Zoo's Africa area exhibits, reminds us how special Jozi's baby is. Jozi and her beau, King, are eastern black rhinos – a group that's very rare and needs our love and care. With their kind facing tough times in the wild, every new baby is a precious gift.
“These rhinos represent a species that’s among the most endangered on the planet,” Gomez said. “Poaching and the illegal wildlife trade have wiped out 96% of the world’s black rhino population. In South Africa alone, we’re losing almost a rhino a day. Hopefully, their story can help inspire a new chapter in the conservation of this incredible species.”
Black rhinos live in the grasslands, savannas, and forests of southern Africa from Somalia to South Africa. Because they are poached throughout their range for their horns, they are among the most endangered mammals in the world.
Jozi, the gentle giant rhino mom who tips the scales at 2,400 pounds, has a story as unique as her name, a blend of her parents' names, Jomo and Azizi. She journeyed to The Oregon Zoo from the Milwaukee County Zoo, reuniting with King, the proud papa, who came from Brookfield Zoo. Their meeting was a match made in rhino heaven, part of a grand plan to ensure these majestic animals thrive for generations to come.
In the vast tapestry of our planet's wildlife, the black rhino has a tale that tugs at our heartstrings. These majestic creatures, with their gentle eyes and impressive horns, are among the rarest treasures in the animal kingdom. But here's why every little step like our baby rhino's matters so much: black rhinos are facing a big challenge. In recent times, they've become the targets of poaching, with their horns, as unique as a fingerprint, being wrongly believed to have healing powers in traditional medicine in some parts of the world. Can you imagine? A single rhino horn can be mistakenly valued at up to $24,000!
In some cultures, the horn of a rhino is seen as a symbol of something quite different – a sign of manhood. It's like a story out of an old book, but this story is all too real and has had a big impact on these gentle giants. Picture this: back in 1970, about 65,000 black rhinos roamed the wild, free and majestic. But now, that number has dwindled to just around 3,500. It's like a starry sky slowly losing its stars.
So, let's put on our party hats and welcome this tiny rhino hero – a true symbol of hope and joy at the Oregon Zoo! 🎉🦏💕