Nikki gave birth early this morning to the world’s first live Indian rhino calf produced by artificial insemination (AI). She delivered a male calf at 6:06 a.m. in her indoor stall. Currently, the calf is in critical condition with Zoo staff working diligently to feed and stabilize him. Meanwhile, Nikki is doing well and will remain indoors.
Nikki has been monitored 24 hours a day since the first of October. Nikki became increasingly restless throughout Monday evening into the night. Cincinnati Zoo Volunteer Observers called Zoo staff in early Tuesday morning. Nikki delivered her calf while volunteer and staff watched anxiously via a live video feed. As soon as the calf was born, not moving or breathing, Zoo staff immediately jumped into action to assist and resuscitate the calf. The calf has been successfully breathing on its own since.
“The staff here at the Zoo is working tirelessly to do everything possible to support this calf,” said Dr. Monica Stoops, CREW Reproductive Physiologist and project leader at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. “We will continue to work to assist him during this critical period.”
Not only is this the world’s first successful live birth of an endangered Indian rhino conceived by artificial insemination (AI), but it is also the world’s first Indian rhino produced with frozen-thawed sperm.
October 27, 2010 9 Comments
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.
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 No Comments
Nikki gets a bath every morning to keep her fresh & clean. During this time, keepers are usually able to collect her urine sample.
Collecting urine is important to keep track of the health of the pregnancy. The samples help us monitor hormone levels without having to draw blood. Rhino’s are big wimps when it comes to little needles, so non-invasive testing is always the better option for them.
Good news again today from Dr. Stoops – this morning’s test indicates that Nikki is still producing high levels of progesterone, and that comes from the placenta & the baby. Everything looks great! Early in the pregnancy, we did hormone testing every week. Now it’s about twice a month.
September 3, 2010 No Comments