Adorable baby rhino born 10 years after her father dies

Written by: Lisa Stelzner

Primary Source: Daily Dose of Science Blog

The male Indian rhino Jimmy at the Cincinnati Zoo had his sperm frozen before he died in 2004.  The sperm came in handy last year when a female rhino named Tashi at the Buffalo Zoo needed to get pregnant so that she did not become infertile from waiting too long between pregnancies (something that often occurs in rhinos).  Tashi’s mate had died, and the only other male Indian rhino at the zoo was too young to mate with.  Tashi had two successful births in the past, so zoo staff tried artificial insemination of Tashi with Jimmy’s sperm, and it worked!  Baby Monica was born after 15-16 months of gestation.This is huge news because it was the first time a baby rhino was born from a father that had already died, and shows that artificial insemination can be used to help with conservation of this very endangered species, which has less than 2,500 individuals in the wild. It also may be used for other threatened or endangered species in captivity.

Also, the first orangutan was recently born in Connecticut using assisted reproduction – with natural cycle intrauterine insemination (IUI).  This is also being praised for its potential in conservation of the species.

Tashi and her calf.  Photo from Buffalo Zoo’s Instagram.

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Lisa Stelzner
I'm a plant biology PhD student studying monarch butterflies in Michigan, but I'm interested in lots of other types of science, too. I am interested in how breeding monarch butterflies choose their habitat based on floral species richness and abundance. Few studies have been conducted on optimal foraging theory when it involves an organism searching for two different kinds of resources, and butterflies are an ideal study system to investigate this, since many species are ovipositing specialists and only lay eggs on one species of hostplant, but are feeding generalists and nectar from a broad variety of flowering forbs.