Thursday, January 25, 2007

Squeezing out a big one

Now, I don't care how big rhinos are, but that has to hurt. Here's the full story:

Budapest - The world's first baby rhino conceived through artificial insemination has been born in Budapest Zoo, weighing in at a whopping 58 kilogrammes.

'The youngster is a little girl and very healthy,' Zoltan Hanga, spokesman for Budapest Zoo, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa Wednesday.

According to Hanga, the birth was the culmination of years of work by an international team of Hungarians, Germans and Austrians.

The new mother, Lulu, was one of many rhinos involved in artificial insemination attempts, and she first fell pregnant in 2004. However, the 26-year-old white rhino miscarried in August 2005 just hours before giving birth. This time around there were no complications, but Hanga said the newborn would not be on display to the general public for 'several months' until it gained more strength.

Budapest Zoo's other rhino, Easyboy, became the sperm donor after romantic sparks failed to ignite between the couple. Hanga said that Lulu and Easyboy came to the zoo in 1983 as children, but since then no sexual frisson had developed.

'Because they were very young when they came and grew up together, they thought they were brother and sisters,' he said. 'They weren't sexually interested in each other, so we had to inseminate.'

The success of the procedure could be significant for endangered rhino species across the world, as breeding rhinos in captivity has proven to be a difficult task.

No comments: