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Lion Country Safari: Newbrn’s Rhino at Florida Attraction


Baby white rhino Aziza stands in the maternity section of Lion Country Safari. Aziza was born on September 22, World Rhino Day.

Safari in the land of lions

The baby white rhino fluttered its ears and huffed for breath, digging its three-fingered hooves into the ground for stability. Lion Country Safari welcomed wobbly newborn Aziza, which means Precious, to the South Florida attraction on World Rhino Day earlier this month.

“It’s very special that she was born on World Rhino Day,” said Haley Passeser, spokesperson for the attraction, in Loxahatchee near West Palm Beach. “It’s an amazing way for us to celebrate. “

As the second offspring of her 8-year-old mother, Anna, and the 37th rhino calf born in the park since the late 1970s, Aziza is a vital member of the White Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan, a national collaboration that saves animals. vulnerable to extinction.

Lion Country Safari donated $ 500 to the International Rhino Foundation in honor of the birth of the baby rhino on September 22.

“Aziza, her mother and her brothers are considered under-represented in a population that is under human care,” said Passeser. “So the birth of Aziza and the transmission of genetics help add diversity to the population. ”

The white rhino was on the verge of extinction in the 1970s due to poaching, leaving less than 1,000 on the planet. Multinational collaborative breeding and protection efforts have resulted in the survival of approximately 20,000 white rhinos, although populations continue to decline.

At the Lion Country Safari, Passeser said some male rhinos have been introduced to the park’s habitat to mix and mingle with the females. During Anna’s 16 months of pregnancy, the veterinary team performed regular ultrasound exams and blood tests. Aziza has been breastfeeding well and is expected to gain 3-4 pounds per day, Passeser said.

As visitors navigate the four-mile drive-thru safari, they can watch Aziza and her mother bond in the maternity area after the rhino section in Hwange National Park.

Passeser said she has visited them several times and the young rhino becomes more and more curious as she stumbles on her own feet.

“She is staying well with mom but is starting to get a little more confident to walk on her own and explore her area.”

Kalia Richardson is a fall 2021 intern for the Miami Herald’s Breaking News team. She has previously written for The Independent Florida Alligator, the North-Central NPR Affiliate WUFT News, and interned for the Orlando Sentinel in the Office of Justice and Security. Kalia is originally from 305 and attends the University of Florida.

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