Miami, FL (WFLX)-- Over the past several days, Zoo Miami has celebrated three significant births. First, on Sunday May 25th, a black rhinoceros was born just after 11:00 pm. This was the 13th successful birth at Zoo Miami for this highly endangered species. Weighing 122 pounds, the female calf was born after an approximately 15 month gestation period. The 14 year old mother, named Circe, was born at the Riverbanks Zoo and arrived at Zoo Miami in 2006. The father, named "Eddie," is also 14 years old and was born at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Black rhinos are highly endangered as they continue to be poached at alarming rates in Eastern and Southern Africa. Whereas there used to be over 100,000 running wild in Africa within the past century, those numbers are now down to an estimated 5,000 individuals. They are killed for their horns which are prized in some eastern cultures for medicinal purposes and as status symbols.
On Friday, May 30th, we welcomed the birth of a male white-faced saki monkey. This is the first birth of this species of Tropical American monkey for Zoo Miami. Found in the rainforest trees of Brazil, Guyana, and Venezuela, these fruit eating monkeys rarely come to the ground and are considered vulnerable due to habitat destruction and hunting for food and the pet trade. Unfortunately, the first-time mother rejected the offspring so it is now being hand raised by zoo staff.
Finally, a male Somali wild ass was born yesterday. Somali wild asses are the world's most critically endangered asses with less than 1,000 believed to still exist in the wild. It is the last remaining ancestor of the modern donkey. They are the smallest of the wild equids and are found in rocky deserts in very isolated areas of Eastern Africa.
The newborn Somali wild ass should be on exhibit by the end of this week. However, the black rhino will remain with its mother off exhibit for at least a week and the white faced saki is being hand raised by staff and off exhibit for at least the next several weeks.