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Day 480 of Pregnancy for Nikki

Nikki - Indian Rhino

Today is day 480 of Nikki’s pregnancy. Indian rhinos are pregnant for 462 – 491 days, so she could deliver her calf any day. Many visitors ask the same questions when they’re watching Nikki, so here are the answers to your FAQs…

Q: Why doesn’t she have water in her pool?
A: The water temperature is too cool for Nikki and would be too cool for the baby. She still has access to plenty of drinking water.

Q: Does she give birth lying down?
A: She’ll probably be lying down for the final push but goes up and down during labor.

Q: How long does labor last?
A: About 3 hours.

Q: How much will the calf weigh?
A: 80 – 100 pounds

Q: How much does Nikki weigh?
A: 4,299 pounds!!

Q: When will the calf start to nurse?
A: About 30 minutes – 2 hours after birth

If you have any other questions, please post them.

October 19, 2010   26 Comments

Rhino Team & Volunteers on Round-the-Clock Birth Watch

Nikki’s due date is rapidly approaching, so the Zoo’s Volunteer Observers (ZVOs) and the rhino team have started to monitor her 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Over 58 volunteers have given their time to help the rhino team keep an eye on Nikki.  The ZVO watch started on October 1 and will be conducted from 3pm – 7am every day.  ZVOs are stationed in our CREW facility where Nikki is monitored using a state-of-the-art camera system.  The ZVO watch is set to continue for 1 week following the birth of Nikki’s calf to record those important “Rhino Firsts”.

The Cincinnati Zoo Rhino team is very thankful to the ZVOs for all of their hard work and dedication!

October 6, 2010   6 Comments

Preparing for Nikki’s baby

Beginning October 1, a team of Zoo Volunteer Observers (ZVO’s) will monitor Nikki on video screens in our CREW facility, as we get closer to her due date. The ZVO’s  will be on duty from the time keepers leave at night until they come back to work in the morning.  The video feed from the camera goes directly into a digital video recorder so the keepers and the CREW scientists can review the footage.

All eyes will be on  Nikki!

In addition, like all expectant parents, we have had to baby proof the rhino barn in preparation for Nikki’s calf.  Indian rhino calves weigh somewhere between 88 to 140 pounds at birth and can stand within 30 minutes of being born.  While generally wobbly at first, Nikki’s calf will soon be steady, on its feet, and busy exploring.  We can’t wait!

Just as human babies sleep in a crib to stay safe, we had to modify Nikki’s bedroom so it would be safe for her calf.  Our maintenance department made play-pen type bars to fit in between the already existing bars of Nikki’s stalls.  This way, the little calf can’t wander out and will stay safe and secure with mommy.

baby proof

Wendy Shaffstall, one of Nikki's keepers, checks the baby proofing.

A big shout out to our maintenance department for helping us get ready for Nikki’s baby!

Now, should we paint the rhino barn pink or blue?

September 29, 2010   7 Comments