A female Indian rhino calf was born on 5 June at the Buffalo Zoo, New York through artificial insemination. The sperm of a male rhino, who died at Ohio's Cincinnati Zoo, ten years ago, was used. Since 2004, the sperm of Jimmy, was stored in the Zoo's Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) CryoBioBank.
Monica weighing 144 pounds, is the first offspring of Jimmy who during his lifetime had never added to the Indian Rhino population, according to a news release.
Tashi, the mother of the newborn, has given birth earlier the natural way . But since her zoo mate died and no other male Indian rhino has attained sexual maturity, it became critical for the zoo authorities to get the mother pregnant yet again as long intervals between pregnancies can cause infertility among female rhinos.
The team members at CREW monitored and assisted Tashi during her 16 month pregnancy.
"We are excited to share the news of Tashi's calf with the world, as it demonstrates how collaboration and teamwork among AZA Zoos (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) are making fundamental contributions to rhino conservation," said Dr. Monica Stoops, Reproductive Physiologist at the Cincinnati Zoo's CREW.
"It is deeply heartening to know that the Cincinnati Zoo's beloved male Indian rhino Jimmy will live on through this calf and we are proud that CREW's CryoBioBankTM continues to contribute to this endangered species survival." she added.
As there are 59 Indian rhinos in North America and only 2,500 survive , it is important to maintain the genetic diversity to keep the rhino population healthy and self-sustaining.
"Without Dr. Stoops' dedication to the species, and to the development of AI science, there is no doubt this calf would not be here today. She has spent countless hours spearheading research and technology for Indian rhino conservation, and the Buffalo Zoo is excited to acknowledge that dedication and announce that the name of the calf is Monica." said Hauser, the rhino keeper.
Birth through insemination could be a boon for thousands of species across the world that face extinction from poaching, habitat loss and population fragmentation. After this , experts believe that the Rhino species will multiply.