Celebrating Victoria

The northern white rhino is the most endangered animal in the world. There are only 2 left on the planet and neither is able to breed, so we're working with partners around the globe to save them from extinction, using groundbreaking science, brand new technology, and decades of world-class animal care expertise.

Playing a key role in our rhino 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 calf, Edward, are southern white rhinos, his birth proves that the science is working—and that hope for the northern white rhino is at our fingertips.

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Victoria and Edward, southern white rhinos, stroll across a hill

Edward and Victoria are both important "firsts"—Victoria is the first rhino in San Diego Zoo Global's 103-year history to become pregnant by artificial insemination. And Edward is the first southern white rhino born by artificial insemination in North America.

Victoria

Loves rhino biscuits and having her legs scratched. Detests cucumbers.

August 28, 2019

Updates from Victoria's Keepers:

Can you believe it's been a month since Edward was born? While a baby rhino is exciting under any circumstance, this one is extra special, and we're completely smitten with the little guy! It's been amazing to watch Edward grow—every day, he's just a little different.

Edward is having lots of "firsts." Last week he enjoyed his first mud wallow, and this week he went out into the main yard for the first time. As soon as we opened the gate between the yards, Victoria took off at full speed, and Edward was galloping right by her side!

Edward hadn't been out of the maternity areas and into the main yard yet because we wanted him to get a little bigger (and coordinated enough!) to keep up with Victoria. And he is—since he was born, he's gained more than 120 pounds! He had no trouble keeping pace with his mom for almost 30 minutes while they ran and ran. Sometimes, all four of his giant feet would be off the ground! After their gleeful romp, they plopped down in a mud wallow to cool off.

Get more of the keepers' perspective, with the Rhino Keeper Diaries.

Learn more about the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center, located at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

 

 

Edward, a southern white rhino, running fast

How do we check Edward's weight? He stands on a large scale on the ground between the yards. Victoria watches while she munches on her favorite food, orchard hay, and then they're off and running.

264

Edward's weight, in pounds, at 3 1/2 weeks old.

August 9, 2019

Updates from Victoria's Keepers:

We’ve had a busy week trying to get back to normal after all the excitement around Edward's birth.

Edward has learned how to wallow, enthusiastically, and Victoria no longer needs to rub mud on him. He's got it down.

 

 

Victoria and Edward, southern white rhinos

Edward and Victoria are thriving! He's playful and curious and she's an amazing mother.

July 28, 2019

The day sweet Edward joined our rhino family!

August 1, 2019

Updates from Victoria's Keepers:

Victoria and Edward are thriving! She's recovering well, getting lots of rest and extra attention from the keepers. She has settled into her motherly role beautifully.

Edward, on the other hand, is ready to take on the world! He's gained more than 20 pounds since Monday, which is great. He's meeting his developmental milestones like clockwork. And he's venturing away from Victoria to explore. Once she realizes he has taken off, Victoria immediately chases after him. He's feisty and curious, and it’s amazing to finally see her as a mom.

Edward is already very playful and spends the early mornings sparring with Victoria. He charges her in play, still a bit uncoordinated on his little legs. She's very gentle with him, and lets him win. Later, if she happens to be resting when he wants to play again, he'll challenge his food bucket!

Edward met the other five rhino girls this morning; he was timid, but very curious. And the girls were very curious about him. They greeted him beautifully, calm and gentle.

 

 

Edward, a southern white rhino calf

Meet Edward! He has the same fuzzy ears as his mom, Victoria.

148

Edward's weight, in pounds, when he was born.

July 31, 2019

He Has a Name!

To honor the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation's generous investments in our efforts to save the northern white rhino, we've named the first rhino born through this groundbreaking program Edward, in honor of Ellen's brother.

 

 

Edward and Victoria, two southern white rhinos, relax in the sun at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center

Edward and Victoria relax in the sun at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center.

25

Minutes before Edward stood up for the first time. Not bad!

July 30, 2019

Updates from Victoria's Keepers:

Victoria and her calf are doing well. He's nursing frequently and demonstrating all the normal behaviors of a calf's early days.

Both rhinos have access to the outdoor maternity yard, as well as the maternity area inside the barn. Victoria is enjoying relaxing in the Southern California sun. Keepers are giving them space and quiet time to continue bonding.

It’s been hot, so keepers made a new wallow for Victoria in the outdoor yard. She rolled and rolled in the mud, cleaning off and cooling down. Little Edward just watched her, so she scooped up mud in her wide mouth and wiped it all over his back! Rhinos use mud to protect their sensitive skin from harsh sun and biting insects.

 

 

Victoria's calf, a male, explores the maternity area of the barn

Victoria's calf is the first southern white rhino born by artificial insemination in North America.

186

Victoria's calf is the 186th rhino born at the Safari Park.

July 28, 2019

We're so excited to share this news with you!

Victoria gave birth to a healthy male calf at about 6:00 p.m. this evening! He's doing well and has already nursed successfully.

Throughout the day, Victoria seemed restless. By evening, her udders were leaking milk and the early stages of labor had begun. Keepers moved her into the birth area in the barn and put down extra bedding. Two veterinarians were present to monitor Victoria and her calf.

Victoria progressed through the first stages of labor easily and calmly. The labor itself only lasted about 30 minutes! Now, mother and calf are bonding and getting some much-needed rest.

Read More >

 

 

Victoria and her calf rest in the maternity area of the barn

Victoria and her calf are resting and bonding. Their health is being monitored around-the-clock.

25

Victoria's calf will gain up to 25 pounds per week during his first year.

July 22, 2019

Updates from Victoria’s Keepers:

Victoria began leaking a small amount of fluid from her udders last Tuesday, which is normal, expected, and indicates that she's approaching the delivery date. Veterinarians and scientists are collecting milk samples twice daily, for the hospital lab to run an electrolyte analysis.

She is still quite affectionate toward the keepers and approaches us readily when we call her, which is especially important during this hot weather. Like many animals, rhinos slow down a bit in the heat.

Victoria and Helene, her pregnancy buddy, have separated from the other rhinos. They're in the maternity barn and yard, and not viewable to the public at this time.

Weekly ultrasounds are still being performed on Victoria. The fetus continues to be active and we can easily see movement in her belly throughout the day.

Read More >

 

 

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

Victoria, a southern white rhino who lives at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center, located at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, is making history.

30

Victoria's labor only lasted about 30 minutes!

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.

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 in May 2018.

40-45

Life span of a rhino, in years.

Rhinos crossing the grassy hill at the Safari Park