Lion Country Safari recently welcomed a male southern white rhinoceros and a baby siamang gibbon.
The rhino was born on Sept. 26. The calf is one of very few third-generation white rhinoceroses born in human care and is highly genetically valuable regarding the survival of the species.
Both the calf and mom are now located in the rhino maternity area, where they can spend some quality time bonding together. The maternity area is visible to guests in their cars from the road in the Hwange National Park section of the drive-through safari.
The baby, named Bash — a name with African origins that means “the forerunner” — was born to mom Anna after 16 months of gestation. Bash is the first offspring of both Anna and dad Chitabe. It is expected that Bash will gain 3 to 4 pounds a day from his mother’s milk and will gain about 1,000 pounds a year for the first three years. Baby rhinos nurse for almost two years.
Of the five species of rhinos, the white rhino is the most abundant, with approximately 20,000 alive today, but all five species are in peril due mostly to poaching.
Lion Country Safari is home to 12 white rhinos — nine females and three males. Since 1979, Lion Country Safari has had 35 rhino offspring and is proud to participate in the White Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan.
The baby siamang gibbon arrived on Sept. 19. The newest addition to the family group can be seen clinging to mom Tina until it matures and begins to explore on its own. The siamang family is visible on their habitat islands in Lake Shanalee from either the Safari Queen boat tour, or as guests prepare to enter the preserve and drive alongside the shoreline.
Siamang gibbons are a lesser ape species native to the rainforests of Asia. Siamangs form permanent mating pairs and produce one offspring after a gestation period of seven to eight months. The average life expectancy for a siamang is 25 to 30 years.
Siamang populations are decreasing in the wild as a result of habitat loss and illegal wildlife trafficking. There are an estimated 22,000 individual siamangs left in the wild. Lion Country Safari is proud to be part of their Species Survival Plan.
Lion Country Safari is the only drive-through safari in South Florida. Guests can see more than 1,000 animals on 320 acres. For more info., call (561) 793-1084 or visit www.lioncountrysafari.com.