October 8, 2007

Lulu the Rhino Is Pregnant Again

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) - Lulu, the first rhino to give birth to a calf conceived by artificial insemination, is pregnant again.

The Budapest Zoo confirmed Monday that the 27-year-old rhino will give birth in late 2008.

She already is mother to Layla, the world's first rhino calf born following artificial insemination with sperm from another rhino at the zoo, Easy Boy.

This time, the zoo used sperm from Simba, 38, a rhino from Britain's Colchester Zoo.

A rhino's gestation period is 16 to 17 months.

Marking another first in the process, Simba's sperm had been kept frozen at minus 321 degrees Fahrenheit for three years, Budapest Zoo spokesman Zoltan Hanga said.

The implant was performed June 14 with experts from Hungary, Germany and Austria taking part, and the pregnancy was confirmed last week by an ultrasound scan.

Layla was born Jan. 23, weighing in at 123 pounds. She is in good health and now weighs nearly 1.1 tons, Hanga said.

All the pachyderms in the current project are Southern White Rhinos but experts hope to use the insemination program with the much rarer Northern White Rhinos, of which only three survive in the wild and eight in zoos.


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