Rhino baby Katana makes her debut at the zoo

The Gulf Breeze Zoo celebrated a very special Mother’s Day this year with one new and very large mom. Katie, the zoo’s 8-year-old white rhinoceros, has a new wrinkly baby in tow. Her name is Katana, and she is too cute.

Katana was born Jan. 20 at a whopping 100 pounds. She now weighs between 200 and 300 pounds and stands roughly two feet tall. Her first horn has just started to grow.

Her mother Katie was pregnant for 16 months before giving birth to the little rhino. Zoo staff had been keeping a close eye on Katie in anticipation of the baby, but one morning they came to the rhino barn to find a surprise inside.

Katana had snuck into the world and quickly snuck her way into the keepers’ hearts. Zoo staff say Katie has taken to motherhood perfectly. Katana has taken to zoo life well too.

Katana loves to play and be rubbed. One of her favorite games is to run and burst through freshly laid piles of hay. Though she is still nursing from mom, Katana also likes to try grazing the grass alongside her mom.

Katana is expected to do a lot of growing, putting on 10 pounds a day. Her final weight will be somewhere around 3,000 to 4,000 pounds when she reaches maturity at 4 years old.

Her father Robbie is even larger, weighing in close to 5,000 pounds.

Besides growing big and strong, Katana has an important job ahead of her acting as an ambassador for her species in the wild.

All five rhino species are endangered in the wild where poachers hunt rhinos for their horns. Some cultures believe that rhino horns have special medical properties and even act as aphrodisiacs, but, the horns are actually made of keratin, the same material as human finger nails.

Two to three wild rhinos are poached a day in the wild. Their numbers are quickly dwindling, and at the current rate, wild rhinos are expected to go extinct in the next 20 years.

Katana and her family act as a reminder to us all that our rhinos, and all the diverse wildlife that call this planet home should be protected.

The rhino family of three can be seen from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day while aboard the zoo’s train tour. Come check out all 800 exotic species that call the zoo home.

The Gulf Breeze Zoo is just a short drive from one of our premium Navarre Beach condominiums. Make meeting Katana part of your vacation plans at navarrelistings.com.