We’re very happy to let you know that the Zoo’s Southern white rhinoceros Jamila became a mother for the second time in the early hours of Saturday (24 September) morning!

Jamila’s waters broke at 2.30am, and by 3.20am she had given birth to a healthy female calf. Her new-born, estimated to weigh around 60kg, was standing within 20 minutes and suckling within an hour, and is continuing to do great in the care of Jamila, who once again is proving to be an exceptional mum.

In 2019, following a breeding recommendation from the Zoo and Aquarium Association of Australasia’s species management programme for rhinoceros, Jamila was paired with the Zoo’s male Zambezi, and in August 2020 gave birth to her first offspring, female Nyah. At this time Nyah was the first rhinoceros to be born at the Zoo in 20 years.

“After a 16-month long pregnancy, it was super exciting to see Jamila give birth - which like Nyah’s was very quick, and it’s always a big relief when everything goes well,” says Ungulates team leader Tommy Karlsson. As he’d been doing for the past two weeks from home, Tommy was able to log into CCTV cameras to closely follow Jamila’s progress last Friday evening.

“Earlier in the day Jamila had distanced herself more from Nyah, by evening she’d become very restless, and then also began defecating and urinating more frequently – all signs her calf’s birth was imminent. My colleagues Vicky, Ben and our vet Sarah got into the Zoo soon after the birth, and the rest of the team joined us a little later.”

Tommy and the team have chosen the name Amali for Nyah’s new sibling, which is Swahili in origin, and means ‘hope’.

“We think it’s a beautiful name with a great meaning. Welcoming a new rhino into the world is always cause for hope for the future of this species, and it’s our hope that as an advocate for her wild counterparts she inspires our visitors to care about these incredible animals.” 

A new sibling is big change and adjustment for two-year-old Nyah, who has close visual access to her mum and new sister from a separate stall within the rhinoceros barn and will be fully integrated with them over the coming week.

“Nyah is doing remarkably well and we expect that she and Amali will become great mates, and enjoy playing, running around and going in the mud-wallow together – something we as a team, and we’re sure all our visitors also can’t wait to see,” says Tommy.

For now, Amali is still finding her feet, and will stay with Jamila inside their heated barn – with access to the adjoining outside yard. But all going well, Zoo visitors may see Jamila and Amali in the Africa Safari Track’s rhinoceros paddock for short periods next week. Check back here for updates.

We we expect that Nyah and Amali will become great mates, and enjoy playing, running around and going in the mud-wallow together – something we as a team, and we’re sure all our visitors also can’t wait to see

Tommy Karlsson, ungulates team leader

Together we’re helping rhinoceros in Africa and Sumatra

When you visit Auckland Zoo, you’re also directly contributing to the conservation of species like rhinoceros in the wild through our key conservation partnerships – so thank you!

Since 2013, Auckland Zoo has been supporting the Zimbabwe-based Lowveld Rhino Trust’s (LRT) conservation efforts for both black and white rhino species. Over a 300,000ha area the Trust rescues adult rhinos and orphaned calves (victims of poaching) and gets them back to closely monitored wild in areas where they can go on to safely breed.

We are also a strategic partner of the Sumatran Rhino Survival Alliance who are taking a ground-breaking approach to save Indonesia’s Critically Endangered Sumatran rhino (population ≤ 80). The emergency plan involves rescuing and relocating rhinos in isolated and distant patches of forest and bringing them together in special breeding facilities in Sumatra and Borneo. Without this kind of drastic intervention rhinos rarely meet, so managed breeding is the only chance to bring this species back from the brink of extinction.

If you’d like to further support our efforts you can also directly contribute to our Conservation Fund