UK zoo welcomes birth of endangered black rhino

Staff at Flamingo Land said the male calf is the first to be born in Europe this year.

UK zoo welcomes birth of endangered black rhino

Zookeepers have welcomed the first birth of a black rhino in Europe this year after capturing the arrival of the critically endangered animal on camera.

The baby male was born at Flamingo Land in Kirby Misperton, near Malton, North Yorkshire, at 5.25pm on Sunday after its mother had a 16-month pregnancy.

The calf, which is yet to be named, is the first eastern black rhinoceros to be born in Yorkshire, and continues the zoo’s conservation work, which has seen two rhinos leave the site to be released into the wild in Africa.

Sam DeBelle, head keeper at Flamingo Land, said: “We have waited so long for this baby, both mum and baby are doing incredibly well and I am so proud of Samira and all her keepers.”

Ross Snipp, zoo manager and park executive, said the calf was the first black rhino born in Europe in 2021.

He said: “This success represents eight years of planning for the team and working collaboratively with our partners across Europe.

“All new births are exciting but there is added significance for this one, both for us and the global population.”

He said: “He is going to grow to be a big, strong, strapping male.”

Gordon Gibb, Flamingo Land’s owner, said: “This is the first time a black rhino has been born in Yorkshire and, with only approximately 3,000 black rhinos left in the wild, continued our vitally important conservation work at home and abroad.”

The zoo moved female rhino Olmoti to the National Park in Rwanda in 2019 in the biggest translocation of rhinos ever to Africa, and in March, eight-year-old Chanua left Flamingo Land ahead of a move to Tanzania, where she will be released into the wild.

Mr Gibb said: “Who knows, one day this baby may follow in the footsteps of his big sisters.”

There are 85 eastern black rhinos in European zoos and no more than an estimated 3,600 in the wild in Kenya and Tanzania, the home of Flamingo Land’s Udzungwa Forest Project.

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