The Denver Zoo announced Sunday that Tensing, an 11-year-old one-horned rhino, is pregnant and due spring 2020.
Rhinos have one of the longest gestation periods of all mammals, so although Tensing conceived in November 2018, her due date isn’t until late March or early April. Ultrasounds have confirmed that the fetus is healthy and has grown to roughly the size of a watermelon, according to a release from the zoo.
“Tensing’s pregnancy is an incredible example of what Denver Zoo—and other zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums—do to ensure the survival of many vulnerable, threatened and endangered species,” said Brian Aucone, Senior Vice President for Animal Sciences. “This was a multi-year process that involved countless hours of care and training, and the cooperation of partner zoos.”
Tensing’s pregnancy is the result of an artificial insemination procedure with sperm from Jontu, a 10-year-old male greater one-horned rhino from Omaha’s Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. The Denver Zoo’s Animal Care team provided extensive training with a focus on positive reinforcement, says the release. This included voluntary ultrasounds and eventually artificial insemination.
The zoo says this was the twelfth attempted artificial insemination procedure — all previous administrations proved unsuccessful.
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