Rhino baby with mother at Disney's Animal KingdomA special “Disney mom” has a new reason to celebrate this Sunday after giving birth to a white rhino calf at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park.

After a 16-month gestation period, Kendi gave birth to her fourth calf Friday, May 4. The unnamed healthy male is the ninth white rhino which has been born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. Ironically enough, his mother, Kendi, was the first 13 years ago!

“The birth of a white rhino calf is certainly something to celebrate since the population of this species is endangered in the wild,” said Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., vice president of Animals, Science and Environment for Disney Parks. “It’s encouraging that with protection and careful management, the global population of white rhinos continues to grow.”

Rhino Baby with mother

Guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park unfortunately won’t be able to catch a glimpse of the little one quite yet. The calf and mother will spend some time off the savannah bonding before they return to the herd in the coming weeks.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park participates in a white rhino breeding program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The program focuses on sustaining the white rhino population in North America. Beyond breeding programs, The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and the Disney Foundation have provided more than $1 million in support to programs in Africa and Asia to protect the last five remaining species of rhino.

And now, a few White rhino fun facts that you may have learned on a previous Kilimanjaro Safaris® Expedition at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park:

  • White rhinos are named not for their color, which is gray, but for the shape of their mouths. The word “weit” in Afrikaans means wide.
  • The white rhino is among the world’s largest land mammals, second only to the elephant. A male rhino can grow to more than 5,000 pounds as an adult.
  • A rhino can move its ears independently to pick up sounds but it depends most on smell.
  • The receptors responsible for the rhino’s sense of smell are larger than the animal’s entire brain.
  • The white rhinoceros has the widest set of nostrils of any land based animal.