With the holiday season upon us, our team of animal care experts remains grateful for one of the best gifts of all … the successful birth of a white rhino last month at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park! Lola, one of the beloved white rhinos in our care, delivered a healthy and adorable female calf in early Nov., and I’m happy to report mom and baby are thriving backstage under the watchful eye of our sensational Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team.
This baby marks the third white rhino born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the past 13 months – and the 13th white rhino born at Walt Disney World Resort – which is incredible news for the conservation of this near-threatened species.
Sadly, rhinos in the wild are hunted for their horns, and their populations continue to dwindle. Because of this, rhino births are increasingly important to maintain healthy populations. We are also helping to protect white and black rhinos in the wild through the Disney Conservation Fund, supporting projects focused on habitat monitoring and restoration.
Huge shout-out to our expert veterinarians, scientists and animal keepers for their dedication to the conservation and care for this special species.
Lola’s successful delivery was on the heels of two other births within the past 13 months. In all three births, the calves cozied up to mom right away and began nursing.
Rhinoceros are the world’s second largest land mammal. After a gestation period of 16 to 18 months, white rhinos typically weigh in around 140 pounds at birth. Lola and her new bundle of joy will spend the next several months bonding backstage before joining the rest of the herd on the park’s Harambe Wildlife Reserve. In the meantime, guests can keep an eye out for the first born of these three calves, Ranger, named in honor of the rangers who protect rhinos in the wild, while experiencing Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Lola’s calf joins a happy contingent of baby births this year, including Humphrey the Masai giraffe, Greta the hippo, and Ada the western lowland gorilla, just to name a few. All told, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has welcomed everything from the tiniest insects and snails to mammoth-hoofed creatures like the white rhino.
For a behind-the-scenes look at how our team of experts care for all of these animals, check out “The Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom” on Disney+. And be sure to keep checking the Disney Parks Blog for more updates on these and other animal additions to our Disney family!
Blog by Scott Terrell, DVM, DACVP, Director of Animal & Science Operations, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts