TAMPA — A southern white rhinoceros gave birth to a calf at ZooTampa on Sept. 12, marking the sixth successful birth of the species in the zoo's history.
In a news release, ZooTampa said southern white rhinoceroses are a nearly threatened species and can be found predominantly in four African countries -- Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
"ZooTampa is deeply committed to the species' continued survival, both at home and beyond," said Chris Massaro, ZooTampa's general curator. "Every birth brings hope to the continued conservation of this incredible species."
ZooTampa says it participates in a rhino group with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that follows a survival plan for the southern white rhinoceros. ZooTampa has contributed $100,000 to rhino conservation projects, such as anti-poaching and habitat repair and restoration efforts.
A high demand for keratin, a protein found in rhino horn that is believed to have medicinal properties, is blamed in the poaching deaths of rhinos in record numbers, ZooTampa said in the release. The northern white rhino, a relative of the southern white rhino, has been considered extinct in the wild, with only two remaining in professional care.
The rhino birth comes just a month after the birth of a rare, endangered okapi -- a species of giraffe -- at the zoo.
ZooTampa says guests can see the rhino calf on the Zoo's safari tram ride, which is included with daily admission, or by adding a white rhino encounter experience for $10.
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