Cincinnati Zoo
3:02 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Zoo uses cryogenics to help rhino conceive

The Cincinnati Zoo says a baby rhino born in Buffalo was conceived using cryogenically preserved sperm.

A female Indian rhino calf was conceived at the Buffalo Zoo through artificial insemination. The sperm came from Cincinnati's former rhino named "Jimmy" who died in 2004. The calf named "Monica" was born June 5 weighing 144 pounds.

In a release, the Cincinnati Zoo calls this "a major victory for endangered species around the world."

The Zoo also says:

“We are excited to share the news of Tashi's calf with the world as it demonstrates how collaboration and teamwork among the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) organizations are making fundamental contributions to rhino conservation,” said Dr. Monica Stoops, Reproductive Physiologist at the Cincinnati Zoo’s CREW. “It is deeply heartening to know that the Cincinnati Zoo's beloved male Indian rhino Jimmy will live on through this calf and we are proud that CREW's CryoBioBank™ continues to contribute to this endangered species’ survival.”

“Tashi,” the Buffalo Zoo’s 17-year-old female has previously conceived and successfully given birth through natural breeding in both 2004 and 2008.  Unfortunately, her mate passed away and the Buffalo Zoo’s new male Indian rhino has not yet reached sexual maturity. Because long intervals between pregnancies in female rhinos can result in long-term infertility, keepers at the Buffalo Zoo knew it was critical to get Tashi pregnant again and reached out to Dr. Stoops for her expertise.  

According to the Zoo, there are 59 Indian rhinos in captivity in North America and approximately 2,500 remaining in the wild.