Guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom this week were treated to quite the adorable site while riding Kilimanjaro Safaris! The latest baby rhino born in Animal Kingdom just made her debut on the savanna, marking not only a notable milestone for the animal’s development but also a special experience for animals and Guests alike as it was the first time all three siblings, Ranger, Mylo, and Logan met and spent time together.
In October 2020, Ranger became the first baby white rhino born in five years at Walt Disney World. Mylo was born just about one year later in September 2021, and Logan, the youngest of the group was recently born in November of last year. Logan was also named after her parents, mom Lola and dad Dugan, and Cast Members have been very excited to see her join the crash (herd) of rhinos out on the savanna alongside her brothers.
White rhinos have seen detrimental declines to their numbers in the wild, so every birth at Disney’s Animal Kingdom or other facilities that are part of the Species Survival Plan by the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) bring new opportunities to increase rhino populations and raise awareness and conservation efforts for these beautiful animals.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom recently boasted three successful rhino births in a period of 13 months, marking a monumental achievement for the park and rhino conservation in general. As Scott Terrell, Director of Animal & Science Operations at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts shared via the Disney Parks Blog, “As incredible as it is to see three rhino calves roaming around together, what is truly amazing is our Animals, Science and Environment team that helped make it a reality starting more than two years ago. The coordination of our scientists, veterinarians, animal keepers and so many other cast members was crucial to this success story.”
There is a lot more than just the cute factor that goes into successful , though. Disney works with the AZA to ensure protocols instituted by the are properly met. Among these items are pairing genetically unrelated animals to help sure healthy and diverse babies than can lead to more breeding opportunities in the future and adjusting diets based on the best possible food to promote pregnancy, lactation and ultimately growth and development.
The top-notch veterinary care at Disney’s Animal Kingdom plays a vital role in the work of the Species Survival Plan, too. Disney Animals and Sciences Cast Members work on everything from monitoring hormone patterns to collecting blood samples and feces to learn more about the animal’s health and ovulation before breeding begins.
Once a rhino in Disney’s care is pregnant, the animal is closely monitored by the animal health team. This work includes regular checkups throughout the lengthy rhino gestation period of 16 to 18 months Wondering about rhino births? Logan, the youngest rhino born at the park weighed 160 lbs. when she was born!
Before rhinos, or any newborn babies in Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park are moved onstage where Guests can see them, they must spend time bonding with mom backstage. It is important for baby animals to spend time with mom and to nurse to ensure the healthiest development possible for them. Once important training behaviors are in place, and an appropriate amount of distraction-free bonding has occurred, the babies will be moved to the savanna where they will join the rest of the crash.
Rhino births at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park support conservation efforts around the world by gathering data about the species throughout pregnancies and developments and through educating Guests who come from all over to learn about the animals in the park. The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund also works to support nonprofit organizations that work with rhinos and other endangered species around the world to help ensure their future survival.