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Your daily dose of cute: Lowry Park Zoo welcomes baby rhino

Break out the cigars: Lowry Park Zoo welcomed the birth of a bouncing baby rhino on Sept. 12, the Tampa zoo announced.

The 80-pound girl born to mother Kidogo is the fifth successful Southern white rhinoceros at the zoo. The calf now weighs somewhere between 80 and 100 pounds, but she has the potential to reach up to 4,500 at full size, a zoo news release says.

"This feisty calf makes a great addition to the already thriving herd we have here at the zoo," said Larry Killmar, chief zoological officer for Lowry Park Zoo. "We hope guests are as excited as we are to get to know the calf and learn more about our herd as well as the species overall. "

After bonding with her mother, the calf will be introduced to the rest of the herd, which includes an adult male, two adult females and Ahadi, a young female born at the zoo last year. She will also be introduced to the Grevy's zebras that share their habitat. Both species are grazers, meaning they eat the same food sources and are often seen sharing grazing space in the wild.

While not developed yet, the calf will eventually grow two horns at the ends of its muzzle, the zoo materials said. The horns are naturally used to defend against predators, but they also make the species a target for escalating international poaching efforts.

According to the International Rhino Foundation, a rhino is killed for its horn every eight hours, and rhinos could become extinct in the wild in the next 15 years. The zoo noted the time birth announcement came out on Sept. 22, which also marks World Rhino Day.

She is the eighth rhino born in the zoo's history. Five were African, three Asian.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at swynne@tampabay.com. Follow @SharonKWn.

Your daily dose of cute: Lowry Park Zoo welcomes baby rhino 09/23/16 [Last modified: Friday, September 23, 2016 4:57pm]
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