Southern White Rhino Calf Receives a New Name 

| October 8, 2022 | 0 Comments

A six-week-old male southern white rhino calf at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has been given a name: Neville. The name was chosen by a generous supporter of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, in honor of a South African doctor who made a positive impact on the donor’s life, and on many others. Neville, and all rhinos, was the focus of attention on World Rhino Day, this past September, a day to bring increased awareness of rhinos and the importance of conservation efforts to protect these iconic animals.  

The energetic and confident calf is thriving and has been experiencing many new “firsts” since his birth this past August, including meeting other rhinos, and gaining enough stamina and bulk to now explore the two-acre main habitat at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center. He can be seen running at top speed around the expansive habitat, frequently stopping to splash around and roll in mud wallows. Rolling in mud is a natural behavior of rhinos. Rhinos coat themselves with a thick layer of mud that acts as a sunscreen and bug repellent and helps to keep them cool.  

In addition to spending time with his mother, Livia, Neville was recently introduced to two of the other adult females residing at the Rhino Rescue Center: Victoria and Wallis. Under the watchful eyes of Livia, the calf often interacts with the two adults—sometimes engaging in playful behavior, including head-butting, or just curiously watching their activities.  

Born at approximately 110 pounds, Neville is nursing well and gaining three to five pounds a week. He currently weighs 250 pounds. When full-grown, at around three years of age, he could weigh between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds, and stand six feet tall at the shoulder. 

All rhino births are significant, and Neville’s birth represents an essential step in San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Northern White Rhino Initiative, showing Livia can carry a calf to term and care for her offspring. This is vitally important, as Livia is now among the female rhinos at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center who could potentially serve in the future as a surrogate mother to a northern white embryo. 

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Northern White Rhino Initiative is dedicated to saving the northern white rhino through innovative reproductive technologies, including artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and embryo transfer.   

Neville enjoys spending time with his mother, Livia, while engaging in playful, child-like behavior.

Category: Animals, Local News, Nonprofit

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