If you thought your children make a lot of groceries disappear, imagine having a newborn who needs more than three gallons of milk each day.

But that’s nothing out of the ordinary for a 140-pound white rhino calf like the one born Dec. 4 at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.

The calf is in good condition after gulping more than three gallons of milk daily during its first week of life. It gained 100 pounds in its first month.

Unfortunately, the calf was rejected at birth by its mother, Ursula.   

“It’s not an uncommon occurrence with first-time mothers,” Adam Eyres, Fossil Rim hoofstock curator, stated when the facility recently announced the birth. “Fortunately, he took to a bottle almost immediately and is in very good health. During his first month, the calf was fed every two hours throughout the day and gained almost four pounds a day.”

It’s the first calf born to Ursula, who was the 14th-and-final calf of Edith – the oldest southern white rhino recorded in North America to give birth at age 42.

The calf, which has not yet been named, will be available for public viewing on the Scenic Wildlife Drive this summer at Fossil Rim.

White rhinos were considered extinct at the turn of the 20th century, but a small population of them was known about in South Africa. Through excellent conservation efforts, their numbers increased to approximately 20,400. Poaching is the main threat to rhinos, and since 2007 it has increased exponentially in Africa.

As a result, every rhino birth is crucial – in the wild or in captivity.

Fossil Rim is a not-for- profit 501(c)3 wildlife conservation facility that specializes in captive-breeding programs for endangered and threatened animal species. The facility funds its award-winning conservation efforts with tourism. The center manages more than 50 species of wildlife including cheetahs, rhinos, giraffes, wolves, zebras and Attwater’s prairie chickens, a species native to Texas.

Fossil Rim visitors can enjoy a 9.5-Scenic Wildlife Drive, unique Foothills Safari Camp lodging, guided tours, camps, Children’s Animal Center, Nature Store and Overlook Café. For more information, call (254) 897-2960 or go online to fossilrim.org.