Visitors at Chester Zoo certainly got their money’s worth on Thursday when a black rhino gave birth in front of them.
Malindi, a 12-year-old Eastern black rhino shocked onlookers when she went into labour on Thursday afternoon. A spokesman for the zoo said a healthy male calf was delivered safely less than half an hour later in what zookeepers have described as a ‘very rare and special event.’
Visitors then witnessed the little one’s first steps as he was up on his feet within 15 minutes and was even seen running around, before returning to cuddle with his mum.
Something INCREDIBLE just happened in our rhino house…
Welcome to the world, precious little one! ❤️️🦏 pic.twitter.com/R1VEMSOHG1
— Chester Zoo (@chesterzoo) 2 August 2018
Tim Rowlands, Curator of Mammals at the zoo, said:
“The newborn was delivered onto soft wood mulch and within next to no time it was up on its feet and running around – it couldn’t have gone any smoother.
“Although it’s still very early days, the little one is showing great signs by feeding regularly and mum and calf appear to have bonded very quickly.
“We just hope this new calf helps us to raise some much-needed attention to this truly magnificent species, and inspires urgent action to protect their future on this planet. We cannot and must not allow this subspecies to become extinct – a fate which has, tragically, already become of some of its cousins.”
The arrival has been celebrated around the world and is being seen as a victory in the fight to preserve the critically endangered animals, whose numbers have fallen to fewer than 650 across Africa as a result of the illegal wildlife trade.
Mike Jordan, Collections Director at Chester Zoo, said:
“This new arrival is a real boost to a critically endangered species. It increases the number of Eastern black rhino at Chester to 11 and is another vitally important success story in a Europe-wide breeding programme for these highly threatened animals.
“A thriving, healthy population of this high profile species in good zoos is vitally important to the future of this species and a key component of our mission to prevent their extinction.”
For updates on the little guy and his mum visit the Chester Zoo website.