Sept. 22 marks World Rhino Day and Disney's Animal Kingdom has a major announcement in the world of conservation: three white rhino are expected to give birth at the park.
This is the first time that the park has ever had this many expectant rhinos and a special moment since the animal is among the most endangered animals in the wild due to poaching.
Kendi, the first rhino to ever be born at Disney's Animal Kingdom in 1999, is expecting a calf to be born sometime in October. And the other two rhinos, Jao and Lola, are expected to give birth sometime in fall 2021.
All three bred through Species Survival Plans, which are overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to ensure the responsible breeding of endangered species.MORE: Extraordinary Earth: Here's how harp seal pups rely on ice floes in northwest Atlantic
"I love these rhinos," said Dr. Natalie Mylniczenko, a veterinarian at Walt Disney World Resort. "It's been so much fun to be able to track these pregnancies and now we're going to have a birth in just a few weeks. I can't wait to see the baby."
Since Disney's Animal Kingdom opened in 1998, 10 baby white rhinos have been born.MORE: Extraordinary Earth: How Nicaragua's Masaya Volcano helps cool the planet
According to Dr. Scott Terrell, the director of Animal and Science Operations at Walt Disney World Resort, there are five species of rhinos and all five are either endangered, heading quickly to being endangered or close to extinct.
With their efforts at Disney's Animal Kingdom and the upcoming births of three rhinos, Terrell and Mylniczenko hope to celebrate these incredible animals and raise awareness about rhinos in the wild.
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