Image: Newborn rhinoceros
Bela Szandelszky / Pool via AP
Budapest Zoo's newborn southern white rhinoceros calf tries to stand up after its birth in Budapest, Hungary, on Tuesday.
updated 1/25/2007 4:26:04 AM ET 2007-01-25T09:26:04

Lulu and Easyboy were more like siblings than lovers, so Budapest Zoo officials resorted to artificial insemination to get her pregnant.

Now, 16 months later, the world’s first rhino conceived by artificial insemination has been born, zoo officials said Wednesday.

The unnamed female weighed in at 128 pounds (58 kilograms) when she was born Tuesday.

“The little one seemed active and vital. An hour after being born it stood up on its own legs,” a zoo statement said.

The mother, 26-year-old Lulu, had failed to conceive naturally, even when put with a male rhino named Easyboy. A group of veterinarians from Germany, Austria and Hungary started insemination and she finally became pregnant in 2005.

“Artificial insemination was necessary because the two rhinos had not shown any sexual interest in each other,” the statement said. “The two have rather developed a friendship, more of a relationship between siblings.”

Since mid-December, rhino caretakers have been monitoring Lulu’s progress around the clock.

The proud mother has been protective of her newborn but has not nursed the baby. The zoo said she had also turned aggressive, but added that an initial refusal to feed was natural with inexperienced mother rhinos.

Until Lulu gets the hang of things, the baby rhino is being fed by zoo workers.

The baby rhino was carried for 16 months and 15 days, which is normal.

By early spring, the zoo’s new addition will appear in public for the first time, zoo spokesman Zoltan Hanga said.

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