The five year stay of the Giant Pandas and their cubs came to an end back in March as they departed and reside in Calgary for the remainder of their ten year stay in Canada. This leaves a huge gap for the Toronto Zoo to attract visitors, especially as the return of amur (Siberian) tigers is still at least three weeks away. The void is being filled with some cute babies the zoo has had over the past few months. Last year they had the clouded leopard, cheetah and snow leopard kittens, and now they have two rhino calves (one great horn and one white rhino) and most recently the birth of a gorilla.
In the past month or two the rhino calves have been on limited display to become accustom to the crowds of people, while the gorilla is in the exhibit full time with her mother do to the family dynamics of gorilla troops. The white rhino is named Theodore and is almost six months old and can be seen in the African Savanna section of the zoo for a few hours with his parents. There is no set viewing time for him which makes visitors seeing him a little hit and mess depending on when they visit that section of the zoo. Theodore is a southern white rhino, who brings some cuteness to the large exhibit which never is a big attraction for the zoo, but being the first white rhino calf born at the Toronto Zoo in 27 years will bring in zoo goers to see him.
Kiran is the great on horned rhino and has a sibling which is slightly older, and rarely leaves his mother side, especially when in the exhibit. The parents gave birth to Kiran’s brother Nandu back in May of 2016. When people visit the Toronto Zoo one of the first exhibits people view is the great one horned Indian rhinos, and for kids seeing a baby animal is magical. With having one of the largest zoos in size (27 acres) in North America as well as the world, it’s not always possible for families with small children to see everything so having Kiran right at the beginning is something kids will remember seeing and wanting to see again especially due to the cuteness factor.
The most recent zoo birth is that of Charlie, the daughter of long time alpha male, Charles and Ngozi. Usually the zoo names the baby gorillas with the first letter of the mother, but since this is seen as likely the last (tenth) child fathered by Charles they named her Charlie. The way gorillas are with their young, the zoo keeps the mother and child in the exhibit with the family. Charlie is hard to be seen at times as she is often in her mother’s arm, as you can just see her head in the picture above. The gorillas tend to fetch a good crowd whether they are in their indoor or outdoor enclosures, largely due to them always being active. A new baby will keep crowds around them as well little kids will like to see a baby amongst the larger gorilla, as it is something they can identify with.
New born animals are always exciting for the Toronto Zoo, as it brings animal lovers to the zoo to get a sight of the young animals. The three newborns are on display for visitors at the perfect time, as with the pandas in Calgary the zoo needed something new for visitors before the opening of the amur tiger exhibit, which hit a minor setback. The return of amur tigers will bring visitors and with the zoo as of June 17, 2018 being approximately three weeks away from opening the habitat, the new born rhinos and gorilla will be a welcomed transition from the pandas to the amur tigers.
- Everett Barilla