Keepers and staff at Howletts Wild Animal Park, in the UK, have been celebrating the birth of a delightful female Black Rhino.
The tiny calf, born on October 16, has been bonding with her mother in their heated stable, whilst the dedicated keeper team monitors her progress.
Animal Director, Neil Spooner said, “We are absolutely thrilled. She’s delightful, and both calf and mum, Salome, are doing well. This latest arrival signifies real hope for the future of this critically endangered species.”
The young calf, born to first time mother, Salome, has yet to be named. Keepers are so pleased with her progress that they have released CCTV footage of her birth and first steps. The team is confident that mum and baby will be ready to explore the outside exhibit very soon.
Jonathan Usher Smith, Head of Hoofstock Section added, “The footage of the calf taking her first steps is wonderful! As you can see, she is a little wobbly but that is to be expected just hours after birth. After only a week, she is already getting stronger and more confident – we’ve even seen her copying her mother and trying to eat browse – although she won’t be ready for solid food for quite some time yet.”
The Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is currently classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Numbers in the wild have been decimated at the hands of poachers, who sell Rhino horn to the Asian market (where it is believed to have medicinal properties).
The Aspinall Foundation*, a leading conservation charity, working with Howletts and sister park Port Lympne, has been working to protect the Black Rhino since 1971. The foundation has returned Black Rhinos, born at Port Lympne Reserve, to protected areas in Africa, in the hope of saving the species. This summer, two of the returned Rhinos successfully gave birth in Africa---a testament to the success of the charity’s ‘Back To The Wild’ initiative.
Howletts latest arrival, firmly cements the conservation charity’s reputation as being the most successful breeder of Black Rhinos in the UK, with a total of 37 births to date.
*The Aspinall Foundation manages conservation projects in Congo, Gabon, Indonesia and Madagascar, as well as providing financial support to various partner projects around the world. The conservation charity’s important work helps prevent some of the most endangered species on the planet from becoming extinct.