The best guess anyone has is that the cubs were born on May 10, judging from when Dora was last seen (May 6) and when she reappeared for some food (May 11). And while everyone headed for the clearly dug-out den at the northwest corner of the enclosure –a fence was set up to keep giddy visitors a little farther from the “den” – my first glimpse of the new Mama (pictured here at right) came in an entirely different area of the domain.
A quick word about that name, “white rhino.” There are five existing species of rhinoceros: greater one-horned (sometimes called “Indian”), Javan, Sumatran, African white, and African black. The white rhino is, of course, not “white” at all, as can easily be seen in this photo of Tom. The most popular theory of the etymology of this name is that it is derived from the Afrikaans word weit, which means “wide,” referring to this species’ broad muzzle.
If you get a chance to visit the Zoo this winter, try to get up and see this little scamp while she is still so very wee. I mean, she’ll never exactly be huge (they are, after all, “pygmy” hippos), but nevertheless she’s absolutely adorable right now and you should try not to miss her!
When I called Homer and held the photo up for him to see, he was very interested in it, cocking his head back and forth and stretching out his neck to get a better look. I don’t imagine he knew it was a photo of him, but I would think he would recognize his own species when he sees it. That was quite a bit of fun!
On the day in question, each of the three big cats had been given a large hunk of meat to chew on. Ena ate hers for a while, then began to stalk her offspring – either for fun or to get their food, too, I’m not really sure.
There have been countless new and beautiful babies born in and around the Zoo since then – and in other Zoos and locations, too. But, to my mind, the most beautiful of all were born last of all when Ena, another first-time mom, gave birth on May 18, 2017 during a month-long strike at the Toronto Zoo.
Aurora and Nikita first arrived at the Toronto Zoo in the early spring of 2001. They were found as orphans, wandering around together in Polar Bear Provincial Park near James Bay, in Northern Ontario. It is estimated that they were born the previous December and they had recently emerged from their den with their mother to forage, only to have her shot by a hunter.