MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – An endangered Indian rhinoceros who lives at Zoo Miami is pregnant, zoo spokesman Ron Magill announced Wednesday in a news release.
According to Magill, the 6-year-old rhino named Akuti was artificially inseminated Jan. 9.
If she brings the pregnancy to term, it will be the first time in the U.S. a greater one-horned rhino gives birth to a calf conceived through induced ovulation.
Magill said the pregnancy was initially confirmed March 24 through a rectal ultrasound, but it wasn't until recently that zoo staff members could indisputably confirm that Akuti had in fact conceived and the pregnancy was progressing normally.
Magill said the fetus's ribs, backbone and strong beating heart can now be seen via ultrasound.
Akuti, which means princess in Hindi, was born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on Jan. 20, 2012. She arrived at Zoo Miami in December 2015. This is her first pregnancy.
As the gestation period is close to 16 months, Akuti is due to give birth sometime in April 2019.
Magill said the father of the expected baby is "Suru," a 17-year-old rhino also born at the San Diego Zoo.
Magill said Suru arrived at Zoo Miami in 2003.
Suru's sperm was also used to inseminate a rhino at Buffalo Zoo, who is also expecting. He has two previous offspring at Zoo Miami.
Zoo Miami currently has four female baby one-horned rhinos.
The greater one-horned rhino is found in Northern India and Nepal and is considered vulnerable due to poaching for its horn.
Magill said the horn is believed by some to have medicinal powers and is used by some cultures as status-defining dagger handles.
The greater one-horned rhino is among one of the world's largest rhinos, with males exceeding 4,000 pounds.