It’s a Girl!
Denver Zoo Welcomes Its First-Ever Greater One-Horned Rhino Calf in a Boon for the Vulnerable Species
A rhino-sized effort led to a rhino-sized reward when our resident female greater one-horned rhino, Tensing, 13, welcomed her first calf on Saturday morning. Initial reports from our Animal Care team indicate that both Tensing and her calf are doing very well, and Tensing immediately started showing appropriate maternal behaviors, including nursing and grooming. The calf will remain behind the scenes in Toyota Elephant Passage for at least six to eight weeks to give her ample time to bond with Tensing under the watchful eye of their care team.
“The birth of this calf is the result of a truly heroic effort by our animal care, health and science teams and partners from other zoos to support the species,” said Brian Aucone, Senior Vice President for Animal Sciences. “It’s a significant event for several reasons, including the fact that this is the first greater one-horned rhino born at Denver Zoo, and because it was another very important step in reproductive science for animals in the wild and human care.”
I feel like if rhino’s smile, that’s a smiling rhino!
The calf was starting to explore her new home in Toyota Elephant Passage hours after birth.
Tensing’s pregnancy was confirmed in December 2018 after years-long effort that involved numerous experts from Denver Zoo and partner AZA-accredited zoos. Our Reproductive Specialist Dr. Anneke Moresco—with assistance from Dr. Monica Stoops from the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) at Cincinnati Zoo (now lead reproduction scientist at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium)—conducted 11 unsuccessful artificial insemination procedures with Tensing from 2014 to 2018. Drs. Moresco and Stoops attempted a 12th artificial insemination procedure with sperm from Jontu, a 10-year-old male from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in late 2018, and a voluntary ultrasound 10 days later suggested she was pregnant.
“Tensing’s journey from pregnancy to motherhood exemplifies the care our team provides to ensure our animals are able to voluntarily participate in their own medical care,” said Assistant Pachyderm Curator Lindsey Kirkman. “It took extraordinary patience and dedication over countless hours to make Tensing feel at ease with the artificial insemination and ultrasound procedures that ultimately resulted in a healthy mom and calf.”