Victoria: The First One

The northern white rhino is the most endangered animal on the planet. There are only 2 left on Earth, and both are female. But by combining innovative science and decades of world-class animal care expertise, we'll bring them back from the brink of extinction.

Playing a key role in our one-of-a-kind rescue program, Victoria is the first rhino in San Diego Zoo Global's 103-year history to become pregnant through artificial insemination. While she and her baby are southern white rhinos, this important first step proves that the science is working—and that hope for the northern white rhino is at our fingertips.

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A close-up of victoria the rhino as she looks into the camera

Victoria, a southern white rhino at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center, is making history.

 

 

July 3, 2019

Updates from Victoria’s Keepers:

Victoria does not have significant udder development yet. This is normal and expected, as udders only develop a few days before a rhino mother gives birth, and Victoria is still about 2 weeks away from her due date. But Victoria has received an increase in the amount of food she receives, to prepare her for lactation.

She’s extra affectionate and follows her keepers around more than usual, looking for attention. All the rhino keepers are spending extra time with her.

Keepers and veterinarians are conducting weekly ultrasounds on Victoria, where they gather information on fetal movement, blood flow, and other key vital signs.

A small scale is set up so the team can record the calf’s weight at birth and in the following days.

In the next few days, keepers will level out the maternity yard, removing any uneven ground as well as a shallow wallow, just in case Victoria gives birth outside. They’ll also put in large piles of soft sand. The plan is for Victoria to give birth inside the barn, but we want to be prepared for anything. The bedding in the barn has been switched to very soft hay.

Keepers are reinforcing Victoria’s response to being called by her name, in case they need to ask her to move into the barn as her delivery approaches.

Read more about how we're preparing for Victoria's calf >

Want to help pamper Victoria?

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June 10, 2019

Victoria’s baby is expected in July or August of 2019! Her caretakers report that she's playful and friendly. She's seeking extra attention, which they are delighted to provide.

A new, state-of-the-art, indoor/outdoor camera system is being installed at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center. Caretakers and veterinarians will be able to keep an extra-close eye on mother and baby around the clock, without disturbing them.

February 11, 2019

Victoria has entered her third trimester! Her baby's kicks can be seen from outside her belly, without equipment, and her veterinarians can feel the baby through her abdomen.

 

 

Victoria's baby in ultrasound

Victoria's baby in ultrasound, February 2019.

16-18

Length of a rhino pregnancy, in months.

July 23, 2018

Victoria has passed her 100th day of pregnancy! As of today, she's 123 days along, and is progressing exactly as she should be.

The baby is getting harder to find on the ultrasound because it's dropping down and the placenta is getting large. This is normal and expected!

Every time we see that tiny rhino-in the-making on the ultrasound screen, it makes our hearts leap. Can you make out the shape of its body and legs along the bottom left? The most recent measurement we were able to get was its body length: 10 cm from crown to rump.

 

 

Ultrasound image of a southern white rhino baby inside Victoria the rhino

Victoria's baby in ultrasound, June 2018.

88-140

Weight of a baby rhino at birth, in pounds.

May 18, 2018

Victoria is only about 7 weeks along, and rhino pregnancies last 16-18 months. It’s early in her pregnancy, and the road ahead is long, but we’re so excited to share this wonderful news. Donors like you make the work at the Rhino Rescue Center possible.

 

 

an ultrasound image of Victoria the rhino's embryo

An ultrasound image of Victoria's baby, taken May 15, 2018.

40-45

Life span of a rhino, in years.

Rhinos crossing the grassy hill at the Safari Park