Rare Black Rhino Calf To Be Born In Des Moines This Fall

Aug 12, 2016

The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines is preparing for the birth of its first baby rhinoceros. Five-and-a-half-year-old black rhino Ayana is expected to give birth in late fall.

On this news buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Dr. June Olds, the senior veterinarian overseeing the birth of the rare baby rhino, as well as Lou Keeley, the large mammal area supervisor at Blank Park Zoo.

Keeley says this pregnancy is a big deal, simply because there are not many black rhinos left in the world.

“They’re under tremendous pressure from poaching,” he says.

There are estimated to be 5,000 black rhinos currently in the wild, and 60 rhinos living in captivity in North America.

“There hasn’t been a black rhino birth in North America since May 2014, so that’s quite a long time to go between births.”

So far, Olds says the pregnancy has been uneventful.

“That’s exactly the way we want it to be. She’s been very happy and doing very well.”

Other segments on the show include: a conversation on recent political rallies in Iowa with IPR's Clay Masters; an interview with La Porte City biology teacher Craig Hemsath on his recent voyage aboard the National Geographic Explorer in the Svalbard Archipelago; a preview of the autism-friendly gym, "We Rock the Spectrum," opening up in Orange City; a two-way with Suzanne Hogan on the impact of urban agriculture; and an ISU researcher talks about his latest work developing self-destructing batteries.