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Rhino Calf Gets Bottle Feeding at San Diego Zoo

Jan 22, 2013 07:53 AM EST

A 5-week-old rhino calf at San Diego Zoo is getting fed from a bottle, as part of her daily nutritional routine.

The zoo has released an image of the newborn rhinoceros Shomili, or Mili, being bottle-fed, as her mother Sundari is having trouble in producing milk and giving enough nutrition for the baby.

Animal staff at the zoo decided to feed the rhino in a bottle twice a day to ensure that the calf gets the nutrition required for its growth. "Weighing 128 pounds when she was born Dec.13, Mili now weighs 245 pounds and is developing right on track," the zoo keepers reported.

Both the mother and the calf are greater one-horned rhinos. The greater one-horned rhinos are the largest of all the rhino species. They are identified with a single black horn that can grow about 8-25 inches long. They are native to the entire northern part of the Indian sub-continent. They live in a wide range of habitats, including tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas and shrublands.

There was a significant decline in the population of these rhinos as they were hunted for sports and killed as agricultural pests. Only 600 individual rhinos survived by 1975, but thanks to various conservation efforts, their population has grown over 3,000 individuals in the Terai Arc Landscape of India and Nepal, and the grasslands of Assam and north Bengal in northeast India.

According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the status of the one-horned rhinos is "vulnerable".

Click here to take a look at the baby rhino getting bottle-fed at San Diego Zoo. 

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