Potter Park Zoo is expecting its first baby black rhino

Local News

It takes a team to make sure the animal is comfortable and staff is safe

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Potter Park Zoo and Michigan State University are expecting a lot of firsts this year.

For the first time, there’s a pregnant black rhino at the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing.

Doppsee, the first-time expectant rhino mother, is due in late-December or early January 2020 after her 15-month pregnancy.

As Michigan State University veterinarians and zoo staff plan for the delivery, if Doppsee delivers in December, it will be one of only a few baby black rhino’s born in the world this year.

This is also the first opportunity MSU veterinarians and veterinary students have had to play an active role in aiding rhino preservation.

“The zoo community as a whole has been working together to understand the breeding and reproduction process of rhinos,” said Cynthia Wagner, director of Potter Park Zoo and MSU alumna.

Doppsee’s pregnancy is significant because black rhinos’ are critically endangered as well as the preserving the genetics of eastern black rhinos.

Doppsee arrived at the zoo in 2011 and has since been an active participant in the Species Survival Plan, which works to ensure endangered species living in zoos and aquariums survive.

Doppsee’s mate, Phineus, a nine-year-old male black rhino from Texas, moved to Potter Park in April 2017.

Veterinarians and zookeepers continue to monitor Doppsee and her fetus weekly, always providing opportunities for veterinary students from MSU to practice their physical exam, blood draw and ultrasound skills.

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