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Tampa, Florida - Say hello to Jiyu! He's an endangered Indian rhinoceros (also known as a greater one-horned rhinoceros). His mother Jamie had him on May 9 at Lowry Park Zoo.
Jiyu is the third rhino born at the zoo in five years. Zoo officials say this significant conservation milestone for the species, since they have fewer than 60 animals in the managed population.
The Indian name Jiyu, means compassionate friend. He hasn't been weighed yet, baby calves normally weigh in the range of 75-100 pounds at birth. Mother and calf will spend time together off exhibit for the newborn's safety and privacy in bonding.
Jiyu has a sister, a female named Jaya born in 2009, who now lives at Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Wichita and a brother named Jahi born in 2011, who now lives at the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford. And their dad is Arjun!
The greater one-horned rhinoceros is one of five species of rhinos worldwide and one of three species found in Asia. It is native to the remote, swampy grasslands of India, Assam and Nepal. Weighing several thousand pounds on average, the rhino's most distinct feature is a single horn on the end of its muzzle (three species have two horns), which is composed of keratin - the same protein that forms human fingernails and hair. The species has a unique upper lip, known as a prehensile lip, which acts as a hook to grasp onto plants and food in its herbivore diet (grass, twigs, bamboo shoots, water hyacinths and various produce). Indian rhinos have been described with "armor-like skin" due to the presence of skin folds, however the skin is actually supple due to frequent wallowing in water and mud.
According to Save the Rhino International, an organization that works to conserve viable populations of critically endangered rhinos in Africa and Asia, drastic declines in population numbers have been fuelled by the illegal rhino horn trade, habitat loss and political conflict over the past few decades. Poaching of rhino horn for the production of traditional Chinese medicine is the greatest threat facing rhino today.
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Lowry Park Zoo