Lincoln Park Zoo On #RhinoWatch As They Await The Birth Of Black Rhinoceros

The zoo said it is "big news" as eastern black rhinoceroses are critically endangered

Shannon Blum
March 21, 2019 - 8:37 am
13-year-old female eastern black rhinoceros Kapuki

Lincoln Park Zoo

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Something big is expected in May at Lincoln Park Zoo.

The zoo announced Thursday that their 13-year-old female eastern black rhinoceros, Kapuki, is pregnant and is expected to give birth in May. The pregnancy is a big deal to the zoo, as eastern black rhinoceroses are a critically endangered species. 

“The potential of a successful calf means much more than a cute face at the zoo. A birth represents preservation of a critically endangered species that faces a lot of challenges,” said Curator of Mammals Mike Murray, in a statement. “We remain cautiously optimistic that Kapuki, as an experienced dam, will know just what to do.”

According to the zoo, the pregnancy is a result of a recommended breeding program from the Eastern Black Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan. After scientific analysis, it was recommended that the zoo’s female rhino, Kapuki, breed with 33-year-old male rhino, Maku.

Kapuki and Maku successfully mated in 2013, which led to the birth of King, which was transferred to Brookfield Zoo in Nov. 2016.

Want to stay up-to-date with Kapuki's pregnancy? 

Check out Lincoln Park Zoo's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag, #RhinoWatch.

According to the zoo, eastern black rhinos are a critically endangered species due to poaching for their horns which are believed to have medicinal benefits despite being made of keratin – the same material that makes up human hair and nails.