February 11, 2005Nuzzling his toy elephant, an orphaned
Indian rhinoceros made his public debut at California's San Diego
Wild Animal Park yesterday. Born January 7, the calf is the latest of
46 born at the facility since 1978. Because his mother died of
complications of childbirth, zoo workers are rearing him by hand in
the park's nursery.
Listed as endangered by the World Conservation Union, the Indian rhinoceros was once at home across a large swath of Southeast Asia. Hunters still seek the rhino's horn, and developers and farmers have overtaken much of the animal's natural habitat. As a result, only about 2,000 remain in the wild, confined to isolated pockets of India and Nepal.