Tampa has a new baby at the zoo

June 13, 2013 by  

Tampa, Florida residents have a new baby to fall in love with – a newborn Indian rhino, born May 9, is now being exhibited at the Lowry Park Zoo for a limited time daily.

This is the third Indian rhino born at Lowry Park in the past five years. The Indian rhinoceros is now endangered in the wild, and there are fewer than 60 managed individuals in the rhino population. That makes the baby’s birth a significant event for zoos everywhere.

The new arrival, a male, was named Jiyu (pronounced JAI-you) by his keepers, who are part of the zoo’s Asian animal facility. Jiyu means “compassionate friend”, and he appears to be living up to his name. His keepers say he is outgoing, bold, and has a huge personality for such a small animal.

Lowry Park is a participant in a program designed to help conserve certain species threatened with extinction. The program is known as the Indian Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan or SSP, and is backed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Jiyu brings the total of Indian rhinos in institutions accredited by the AZA to only 54. The number in the wild is estimated at 2,850 or fewer.

Zoo officials could work with brochure printers to create a hand-out for visitors. Not only could it could include a map of the zoo showing where the animals can be found, but it could also explain the importance of saving endangered species and supporting the zoo’s programs.