What a cutie!
Following a long 15-month pregnancy, Ema Elsa – a black rhino at Chester Zoo – has welcomed a rare baby rhino, and she looks like she’s loving life already. Joining less than 1,000 other eastern black rhinos that live on our planet, the new arrival will live at Chester Zoo with her mother, where conservationists are carrying out important work to save the species. The species is considered ‘critically endangered’, and in the wild are now only found in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.
Celebrating the birth with their fans, which will be ‘celebrated globally’, Chester Zoo has launched a poll to invite the public in the naming process. Keepers have shortlisted the names Kasulu (a town in Tanzania), Koshi (meaning ‘to try’) and Kaari (meaning ‘young girl/young daughter’) for voters to choose from – with Kasulu currently taking the lead in the Facebook poll.
Andrew McKenzie, Team Manager of rhinos at the zoo, said: “The birth of a critically endangered eastern black rhino is always very special. And to be able to watch on camera as a calf is born is an incredible privilege – with rhino numbers so, so low it, sadly, isn’t something that’s captured very often. Seeing the little one then get to her feet with a gentle nudge from mum; take her first tentative steps and suckle for the first time is then the icing on the cake. It really is heart-warming stuff.
“The whole team here is overjoyed. Mum and calf have bonded wonderfully and have been showing us all of the right signs. These rhinos have been pushed to the very edge of existence and every single addition to the European endangered species breeding programme is celebrated globally. It’s sadly no exaggeration to say that it’s entirely possible that we could lose them forever within our lifetime and the world’s most progressive zoos are very much part of the fight to prevent their extinction.”
Andrew added: “In the short term, Ema Elsa and her new baby will help to highlight the perilous position that this species is in and we hope they encourage more people to join the fight to prevent the extinction of these gentle giants. In the future, as we work to ensure more safe areas, we hope Ema and her offspring, like others before them born into the European breeding programme, are one day able to make the journey back to Africa.”
Check out the video below:
In addition to rhino breeding, Chester Zoo has, for many years, also supported conservation efforts to protect eastern black rhinos in Africa and continues to fund and provide expertise to numerous sanctuaries, partners and wildlife reserves and to train anti-poaching rangers.