Twitter | @lincolnparkzoo

Critically Endangered Black Rhino Gives Birth At Lincoln Park Zoo

A Chicago zoo has announced the birth of an incredibly rare eastern black rhinoceros, a momentous occasion for the species that is now classified as being critically endangered, Unilad reported.

The black rhino has suffered immensely from years of hunting and poaching.

Pixaby | RonPorter

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), relentless hunting by European settlers caused the black rhinos to all but disappear by the 1960s, with only an estimated 70,000 left in Africa.

In the 1970s, a poaching epidemic further severely reduced the rhinos' numbers, with a reported 96 percent lost to large-scale poaching between 1970 and 1992.

By 1993, there were only 2,475 black rhinos recorded on the planet.

Pixaby | Marcel Langthim

Significant conservation efforts have helped that number grow to about 5,000, but the species is still incredibly fragile and on the verge of extinction. They're currently on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's red list of threatened species.

Kapuki, a 13-year-old black rhino at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo, has done her part to help save her species.

After 15 months of pregnancy, the proud mamma gave birth to a yet-unnamed calf on May 19.

Zoo officials reported the labor live via Twitter after keeping their followers updated on Kapuki's pregnancy using the hashtag #rhinowatch.

The zoo has reported both mom and calf are doing great, wit the baby's milestones continuing to be documented.

Twitter | @lincolnparkzoo

Just after it was born, the calf stood up and took its first steps.

It was actually 53 minutes after it was born that it began walking around. Let's see your human baby do that. The black rhinos aren't messing around.

The animals won't be on display to the public for awhile, and vet staff are monitoring mom and baby with remote cameras.

Everyone is doing their part to give the rhinos some privacy and let Kapuki care for her calf in peace.

h/t: Unilad

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