10-week-old Future Begins Integrating with Her Crash—and Interacts with 6-month-old Edward for the First Time
Future, a 10-week-old southern white rhino calf at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, made a new friend when she met 6-month-old southern white rhino calf Edward, on Saturday (Feb. 1, 2020.) This was the first time the female calf had met two rhinos other than her mother. Future and her mother Amani were given access to the front outdoor area at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center, where 6-month-old Edward and his mother Victoria were grazing. The two calves had seen each other from a distance, but they had never physically shared the same space before. The youngsters were hesitant to approach each other, at first—but eventually their shyness gave way to curiosity, and the two came nose to nose. Once that occurred, the pair instantly bonded, playfully sparring and running around the habitat.
“The introduction of Future to Edward and Victoria went really well,” said Jonnie Capiro, lead wildlife care specialist, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “When the four rhinos first came together, the moms showed their protective nature by facing off with each other, while their calves stayed close by their sides. But very quickly, the adults realized there was no threat to their calves, and they allowed the little rhinos to interact.
“Future was her feisty self, boldly approaching Edward, while Edward was a bit shy at first,” added Capiro. “It was really exciting to finally have our two young rhinos together.”
Amani and Future have been separated from the other rhinos that live at the Rhino Rescue Center since Future’s birth on Nov. 21, 2019, allowing the pair ample time to bond and for Future to gain stamina and bulk. From time to time, the pair have been able to see the other rhinos, but they have not been in the same physical space. “While Amani knows the other rhinos, Future has only observed them from a distance,” said Capiro. “We are looking forward to gradually introducing Future to the other adult rhinos at the Rhino Rescue Center.”
Future is San Diego Zoo Global’s 100th southern white rhino born at the Safari Park, and she is only the second calf in North America to be born following hormone-induced ovulation and artificial insemination. Future’s name celebrates these monumental milestones—and the hope she brings to the future of rhino conservation worldwide. Edward was the first calf born at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center, and the first in North America conceived through artificial insemination.
Future’s and Edward’s births by artificial insemination represent 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. Only two northern white rhinos currently remain on Earth and, unfortunately, both are female.
On any given day, visitors to the Safari Park may be able to see Future and her mother, and Edward and his mother, from the Africa Tram. Their animal care team rotates them, along with the other five southern white rhinos residing at the Rhino Rescue Center, from the back area to the front outdoor area.
For more information on San Diego Zoo Global’s rhino conservation efforts, visit EndExtinction.org.
During the month of February, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is extending a big welcome to seniors by offering free admission to guests 65 years and older; parking not included. For more information about Seniors Free, visit SDZSafariPark.org.