ATLANTA, Ga. (WRBL) — A species marked as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature is gaining another member. The Zoo Atlanta announced a southern white rhinoceros Kiazi is pregnant in a press release on May 23, 2023.

The rhinoceros, whose name means “potato” in Swahili according to the zoo, is set to give birth in December of this year, ending a 16-month gestation period.

“We are thrilled to announce Kiazi’s pregnancy and to be able to look forward to sharing the joy of watching a rhino calf grow with our members and guests,” Zoo President and CEO Raymond B. King said in a statement from the press release.

He said he hopes the pregnancy and eventual birth of Kiazi’s baby will help raise awareness of the dangers which impact rhinoceroses in the wild, as well as spark interest in conservation efforts.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the population of white rhinos in the wild is just 16,000 and they continue to be targeted by poachers for their horns. The Altanta Zoo explained in their press release southern white rhinos are especially vulnerable to poachers due to their herd behavior and rhino horns are thought to have medicinal properties in some cultures, although they “have no medical value.”

It should be noted southern white rhinos are not the same subspecies as the northern white rhino, as National Geographic reports, “In general, southern whites are a little larger and harrier.”

Northern white rhinos are also extinct in the wild, with just two females of the subspecies left in captivity, according to the International Rhino Foundation.

WWF states that protection of southern white rhinoceroses is still important due to continued targeting by poachers and safeguarding these animals can also help to preserve other species in rhino conservation areas.