Rare black rhino gives birth at Iowa zoo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Rare black rhino gives birth at Iowa zoo

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Courtesy: Blank Park Zoo Courtesy: Blank Park Zoo
Courtesy: Blank Park Zoo Courtesy: Blank Park Zoo
Courtesy: Blank Park Zoo Courtesy: Blank Park Zoo
DES MOINES (KWWL) -

An endangered black rhino was born at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines--most likely, the first endangered rhino born in the state of Iowa, zoo officials said.

Ayana, a six year-old eastern black rhino, gave birth to the 80 pound calf Oct. 11 just before noon.

According to a press release, the calf was standing and walking within the first hour of its birth, and was attempting to feed within its second hour.

Fewer than 1,000 eastern black rhinos remain when you combine wild and captive populations. Only two have been born in the United States this year and a total of seven in zoos worldwide, according to a press release.

"The eastern black rhino is at a 'tipping point' in the wild - meaning that deaths, mostly due to poaching, will soon outnumber births," said Kevin Drees, director of animal care and conservation. “The captive zoo population plays a role in survival of the species, and Blank Park Zoo has partnered with the International Rhino Foundation to secure the species future. This celebrated birth should raise awareness and bring attention to this critical wildlife situation.

A name for the calf hasn't been announced yet, and the zoo says they'll hold a fundraising opportunity for the chance to name the rhino.

Zoo officials say the baby rhino won't be available to view for some time to allow the mother and baby to bond.  Instead, they'll release pictures, video and live webcams on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/blankparkzoo.

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