TODAY   |  June 22, 2013

Endangered rhino born at Alabama zoo

The world’s first endangered Indian rhino was successfully born via artificial insemination. The little guy, who is just over two weeks old, already weighs 100 pounds. His name was revealed Saturday on TODAY. TODAY’s Erica Hill and Lester Holt interview the zoo’s reproductive physiologist Monica Stoops.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> a breakthrough in the movement to keep rhinos from extinction. we had the first indian rhinoceros born through artificial insemination . it weighs over 100 pounds and is getting used to his new home at the zoo.

>> it's nice to have you with us. glad to hear mom and baby are doing well.

>> they are doing fantastic, thanks for the congratulations.

>> what makes this such a big deal ? this is pretty important, especially as we look at the future of the species.

>> exactly. so, when we look at this little guy, he represents the first calf of any rhino species to be born in a u.s. zoo as a result of the reproductive technology . he's the only indian rhino calf that is thriving from the technology of assisted reproduction using artificial insemination .

>> you have a male rhinoceros there. why not let nature take its course? why was it necessary to do artificial insemination .

>> as some human couples require the help of doctors to conceive a baby, the mom and dad require rhino specialists to produce a calf. in 2004 , his sperm was collected and we stored it at a rhino sperm bank . at minus 320 degrees. in 2012 , when the breeding recommendation came for them, that sperm was brought back to alabama, thawed and used for the ai procedure.

>> best of luck to the family and the little guy. he's getting a name today, is that true?

>> yes. the montgomery zoo chose the name ethan. he visited the zoo three days after he was rescued from a bunker here in alabama. because this little guy, our calf, is such a special little we wanted to name him after a special little boy that had a connection with the animal.

>> he will grow a horn at some point, right?

>> yes, he will. he won't grow it until after he's born, otherwise, it would be a little uncomfortable.