ZSL Whipsnade Zoo staff are celebrating after a challenging Asian Rhino calf birth. Baby Karamat, which means miracle in Nepalese, was born breeched (back feet first) to mom Beluki and as a result was traumatized and unable to suckle properly. Despite attempts by keepers and vets to entice the calf to latch on, things were looking bleak when after 24 hours she still had not taken any of her mother’s milk.
Staff, who were camped out in sleeping bags in the next door hay barn, took the rare step of intervening. Their job was complicated by the fact that not just any milk would do. As a newborn, the calf needed colostrum, which is the special milk high in antibodies produced by mammals in late stage pregnancy. Lucky for Karamat, there were local farmers and local pregnant dairy cows willing to share! After sourcing special colostrum milk, high in antibodies, from local dairy farmers, they fed the youngster by bottle.
Over the next few days and nights keepers and vets worked relentlessly to keep the youngster alive. Finally, after three long days and two overnight vigils the calf responded to their efforts and started feeding by herself from Beluki