Rare baby rhino born at Zoo Miami using artificial insemination

Zookeepers in south Florida announced the "historic" birth of a rare baby rhinoceros at Zoo Miami.

The newborn Greater One Horned Indian Rhinoceros was born around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday to 7-year-old mother Akuti and 18-year-old father Suru, the zoo said. It's only the zoo's second successful birth of the rare species.

But zookeepers said this is an historic occassion because it's the first successful birth of this species as the result of induced ovulation and artificial insemination.

After several attempts at natural breeding were unsuccessful, zookeepers collected semen from Suru on January 8, 2018, and artificially inseminated Akuti the next day.

Veterinarians have not yet been able to perform a neonatal exam, noting staff will do so when it's safe to separate the infant from its "very protective" mother for the few minutes the exam will take.

Zookeepers said the species is considered highly vulnerable since there are less than 3,000 Indian rhinos left in the wild in portions of Nepal, India and Assam.

"Over the years, they have been poached extensively for their horn which is used for medicinal purposes and for dagger handles that are revered in some Asian cultures," Zoo Miami said. "They are the world's fourth largest land mammal sometimes reaching a weight of 6,000 pounds."