Baby rhino due this month at Monarto Safari Park

Umqali, a southern white rhinoceros, is expecting again, Zoos SA says.

If you’ve never seen a baby rhino before, you’ll soon get your chance.

One of Monarto Safari Park’s southern white rhinos, Umqali, is due to give birth around the end of this month, Zoos SA staff revealed on Tuesday morning.

The expectant mum had mated with male rhino Satara last March, and keepers had long suspected she was pregnant based on hormone test results.

Baby rhinoceroses spend almost 17 months in the womb and weigh between 40 and 65 kilograms at birth.

Assistant curator Anna Bennett was excited that keepers could confirm Umqali’s sixth calf was on the way.

“She’s a fantastic, caring mum and we anticipate she’ll be just as attentive this time around,” she said.

“Of course, baby rhinos are just adorable so the team is quite excited to have a little one running around, that’s for sure.

“Young rhinos are a lot of fun – they’re very boisterous and playful and can often be seen racing around their exhibit and rubbing their tiny horns on things.”

Keepers will use CCTV cameras installed around the rhino exhibit to monitor Umqali and her calf during the birth.

The calf will stay by its mother’s side for years, but will put on as much as two to three kilograms in weight per day and gain confidence within weeks of being born.

The calf will be the seventh born at Monarto as part of an international breeding program aimed at saving the species from extinction.

Poaching and other challenges have shrunk South Africa’s southern white rhino population by more than 8000 in the past 10 years.

The safari park currently has eight rhinos, but hopes to bring 30 more to Monarto by 2022 under the Australian Rhino Project.

Photo, video: Zoos SA.