One-month-old greater one-horned rhino calf enjoys mud wallow with mom at San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Photo courtesy Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

A greater one-horned rhino calf entered the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Asian Savanna field exhibit with her mother for the first time Wednesday since her birth one month ago, the zoo announced Thursday.

The rhino’s mother, Alta, gave birth to the calf, named Anusha, July 30 and the pair have remained in an enclosed area since then to bond before entering the larger habitat, which spans 40 acres at the Safari Park. The two rhinos ran around the enclosure before cooling off in a mud wallow, which also acts as a bug repellant and sunscreen for rhinos.

“It’s great to see Alta introducing her calf to their exhibit for the first time,” said Jillian King, the Safari Park’s senior keeper. “The calf is a little shy, and mom is very protective. Everything is new to the calf right now, so it will be interesting to watch her acclimate and eventually meet some of the other rhinos, and other animals that share their habitat.”

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the greater one-horned rhino as a vulnerable species on its Red List of Threatened Species due to habitat loss, poaching and illegal rhino horn trafficking. More than 70% of the world’s remaining 3,500 greater one-horned rhinos live in India’s Kaziranga National Park.

That population took another hit in July when heavy rainfall and flooding at the sanctuary led to the deaths of more than 50 animals, including 17 greater one-horned rhinos, according to the zoo.

Anusha is the 73rd greater one-horned rhino born at the Safari Park since 1975, according to the zoo. The Safari Park first opened in 1972 and was named the San Diego Wild Animal Park until 2010.

Park visitors are able to see Alta and Anusha as well as the Safari Park’s additional six greater one-horned rhinos at the Asian Savanna exhibit and during a Caravan or Cart Safari tour.

–City News Service

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