Brendan Keany

Buffalo Zoo Introduces Mohan to the Public

Zoo officials discuss significance of Mohan's birth

July 12, 2019 - 11:38 am

BUFFALO (WBEN - Brendan Keany) - On Friday morning, the Buffalo Zoo introduced baby Mohan, a Greater One-Horned Rhino, to the public.

"Tashi and Mohan are ambassadors for the 3,500 Greater One-Horned Rhinos that you would find in the wild today," said Buffalo Zoo President and CEO Norah Fletchall. "They represent a fantastic step forward for rhino conservation. This baby has been produced as a result of artificial reproduction techniques that are developed by our good colleagues at the CREW Center in Cincinnati, Ohio."

Mohan is now one of three Asian rhinos in the world to be successfully produced through artificial insemination and the second of his kind to be produced right here at the Buffalo Zoo - both of which have been successfully carried by Mohan's mother - Tashi.

"We are a leader - the Buffalo Zoo continues to be a leader in wildlife conservation, and this demonstrates our leadership," added Fletchall. "By working closely with our great zoo colleagues throughout the country, we are continuing to partner with them to use good science and provide great welfare for these animals, not just Tashi and Mohan, but all of the animals that we have here in the Buffalo Zoo to carry conservation forward, to connect people to wildlife, to provide the opportunity for people to come and learn about rhinos, and of course, fall in love with this little guy and Tashi."

Listen to the full interview with Fletchall below:

Joe Hauser is the assistant curator for the Buffalo Zoo, and he says Buffalo should be extremely proud of the the accomplished work in rhino preservation over the last decade.

"You can be very proud to say that right here in Buffalo we're doing fantastic work," said Hauser, who also described the process of the gestation.

"We actually performed the artificial insemination on February 15, 2018, and her gestation was exactly 488 days," he said. "We actually determined her pregnancy really early on at 19 days, so we say little Mohan when he was not even a couple centimeters."

Hauser saw Mohan grow pretty rapidly over the course of the 488-day gestation period, as the baby rhino weighed a whopping 125 pounds when it was born last month, and he already weighs more than 200 pounds, which is nothing compared to the size of a full-grown male.

"He's gaining, right now, about four pounds every day, so he's a healthy boy," said Hauser. "Full-grown male Greater One-Horned Rhinos get anywhere between 5,000 to 6,000 pounds. They are the tallest of the five species of rhinos - their backs stand at about six feet tall or taller - so their definitely very large animals."

Mohan won't be considered full-grown until he's about 10 years old, and he won't grow his horn for several years.

"This is definitely a significant birth, not only just because it is an endangered species, but because of the result of artificial insemination," Hauser explained. "That science is still very new to rhinos in general. As Norah said, there are only three walking this planet for the Greater One-Horned Rhinos from assisted reproduction  including our first one that we had born here in 2014, so that in and of itself is very significant. Not only that, but this species is a result of conservation efforts, it is actually a conservation success, not only in institutions but also out in the wild. These animals were down to about only 200 animals out in the wild, and then through conservation efforts, we were able to bounce that population to about 3,500 today."

Listen to the full interview with Hauser below:

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