After 493-day pregnancy, baby rhinoceros conceived artificially born at California zoo

After a 493-day pregnancy, a mother rhinoceros gave birth to a healthy baby male on Sunday, marking not only a joyous occasion for the San Diego Zoo Safari Park community, but the first successful artificial insemination birth of a southern white rhino in North America.

Baby rhino marks first successful artificial insemination

The mother, Victoria, and baby are doing well, zoo officials said.

The birth of the baby, who is not named yet, represents an important step in saving the southern white rhino, which has been threatened because of poaching and illegal trafficking of rhino horn, according to the nonprofit, San Diego Zoo Global.

There are only two northern white rhinos in the world, and both are female. Researchers plan on having southern white rhinos serve as surrogates for northern white rhino embryos, the nonprofit said.

Victoria was artificially inseminated with frozen semen from southern white rhino Maoto on March 22, 2018, following hormone-induced ovulation.

This story was reported from Oakland, Calif.