Rhino baby
Future, a southern white rhino calf born Nov. 21, 2019, left the maternity yard for the first time Jan. 17, 2020, at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Photo by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The southern white rhino born in November at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park stepped out to the main exhibit yard Friday for the first time since her birth.

The eight-week-old calf, named Future, accompanied her mother, Amani, spent time exploring the habitat and running around the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center before taking a nap, according to zoo officials.

Future, born Nov. 21, 2019, explores the habitat Jan. 17 at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Photo by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The pair has been living in the maternity yard and other off-exhibit areas while keepers got the baby bulked up and ready for the larger space. Future weighted 132 pounds when she was born the week before Thanksgiving. She was up to 386 pounds as of Jan. 17.

While Future is one of 100 southern white rhinos to be born at the Safari Park, the calf is only the second one in North America to be born hormone-induced ovulation and artificial insemination. Officials with San Diego Zoo Global said the name Future celebrates that process and the hope she brings to the future of rhino conservation worldwide.

There are only two northern white rhinos left in the world, and both are female. Future’s birth by artificial insemination represents a critical step in the organization’s ongoing work to develop the scientific knowledge required to genetically recover the northern white rhino, a distant subspecies of the southern white rhino, the zoo said.

— Staff report

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