WATCH: White Christmas at Toronto Zoo with birth of Rhino calf

Sabi and her newborn calf at the Toronto Zoo in Canada. Picture: Supplied/ Toronto Zoo

Sabi and her newborn calf at the Toronto Zoo in Canada. Picture: Supplied/ Toronto Zoo

Published Jan 4, 2024


A white rhinoceros was born at the Toronto Zoo in Canada during the holiday season as the female Rhino Sabi welcomed her first calf into the facility.

Just before 8am on Thursday, December 28, Sabi gave birth to her first calf after struggling to fall pregnant due to her "long" estrous cycles, Toronto Zoo said on its website.

The estrous cycle refers to the process where a female goes from reproductive receptivity to non-receptivity.

Even though staff at the facility knew the chances of her getting pregnant were slim due to her age, they took a chance, regardless.

“Following continual adjustments in daily care and diet, Sabi’s behaviour in spring 2022 suggested that her hormonal cycles had switched from the long cycles to the typical cycle length.

“The likelihood of successfully conceiving for the first time drops with age in many species, including white rhinos, and Zoo staff were keenly aware of this with Sabi,” Your Toronto Zoo said.

“Sabi’s calf came into the world following a few hours of labour. It was around midnight when Sabi’s Wildlife Care team began noticing her walking and rolling around.

“When keepers checked on her in the early hours of the morning, more fluid had been discharged and her water officially broke, culminating with a successful delivery at 7.58am,” it said.

The male calf was a result of the facility’s breeding introduction between Sabi and a male white rhino named Tom in the summer of 2022.

The 15-year-old father is no stranger to festive babies, however, as his first calf, Theo, was born on December 24, 2017, and left Toronto in late 2021.

After maturing, Theo was separated from his father and sent to live at the Greater Vancouver Zoo, east of Toronto.

Dolf DeJong, CEO at Toronto Zoo said staff were working overtime to ensure Sabi experienced a successful labour.

“They’ve been “baby-proofing” the habitat and the veterinarian team has been keeping a very close eye on her, particularly over the last few months to ensure we did everything possible to help bring a healthy calf into the world,” DeJong said, adding that the two would be given space to bond.