You might remember Ranger, Mylo and Logan, the 3 rhino siblings born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Well a week ago, the three adorable rhinos were together on the Kilimanjaro Safaris and it was a great moment for the guests to witness.
In fact, it was Logan’s first time in the savanna at all! She was born in November 2021 and named after her mom and dad Lola and Dugan, cute right? Mylo is the middle kid and was born in September 2021 and Ranger is the oldest, he was the first rhino to be born at Walt Disney World in five years! Animal Kingdom welcomed him back in October 2020.
The successful births of these rhinos are actually a major achievement for the team and the rhino population. Thanks to them, the animal care experts have been able to learn more about this species and share that knowledge to benefit rhinos worldwide.
But this adorable moment we got to see on the Kilimanjaro Safaris is not an easy task, in fact, the Animals, Science and Environment team along with the coordination of scientists, veterinarians, animal keepers and so may other cast members were crucial for this.
Have you ever thought what does this process include? Well we are going to tell you:
- Selection through the Species Survival Plan
- The process begins with lots of planning and logistical preparation. Many factors influence the pairing of rhinos through the Species Survival Plan overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to ensure the responsible breeding of endangered and threatened species in managed care. The genetic diversity of the rhinos selected is one of the most important factors, and pairing genetically unrelated individuals helps ensure a healthy animal population for generations.
- Animal Nutrition
- Our team of animal nutritionists monitor the diets of all animals in our care to ensure they receive the nutrients they need. Once the rhinos are paired, their diets can be further adjusted as needed for pregnancy, lactation and growth.
- Before any introductions are made, our team of animal endocrinologists monitor specific hormone patterns that change after ovulation and throughout the rhinos’ pregnancy. This tracking is possible because the rhinos are trained to voluntarily participate in their own care, allowing our team to collect blood samples and feces to monitor hormones related to ovulation and pregnancy. Once the appropriate timing is determined, breeding can begin through a carefully controlled process.
- Veterinary Care
- Our animal health team works with endocrinologists and animal keepers to monitor the animals throughout their long pregnancies. Quick fact – rhinos have one of the longest gestation periods of any animal! During this approximately 16 to 18 months, the health of the mom and baby are monitored through regular checkups and ultrasounds. Through these ultrasounds, the team was able to watch Logan grow from a ball of cells to the 160 pounds she weighed at birth.
- Animal Care and Training
- Through training sessions, our animal care experts work with each mom individually to participate in regular checkups throughout her pregnancy. This helps ensure the health of mom and baby.
Once the rhino calf is born, mom and baby will spend months backstage bonding. During this crucial time, the keepers will ensure the calf is nursing and growing. This time also allows keepers to focus on each animal and teach important training behaviors so the baby rhino is set up for success and social life on the savanna. Once the calf is ready, keepers work with the rhino calves to slowly introduce them to the rhino crash and the many other animals on the savanna.
- Rhino Conservation
- White rhinos are a very social species, and they’re constantly learning from each other. Just as they pass along important behaviors like sparring and wallowing in the mud, with each successful rhino birth our team is able to better understand and share vital information on the many dynamics of rhino fertility. These learning experiences lead to an even higher quality of care for this special species and can be put into practice to help future rhinos born in managed care as well as their counterparts found in their range countries.
So next time you are visiting Animal Kingdom, make sure to stop by the Kilimanjaro Safaris! You might be able to see Ranger, Mylo and Logan together again!
Credit: Disney Parks Blog
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