Anytime a new baby is born, it’s exciting. When that baby happens to be a rare black rhino, it’s even more exciting. There are fewer than 700 black rhinos alive in the wild. Poaching has brought them to the edge of extinction.
Zoos and rescues are working to help increase their numbers with captive breeding, but these programs take time and are not always successful.
A new baby black rhino was recently born at the Chester Zoo. He is adorable and healthy, and everyone is excited about the news.
Chester Zoo’s curator of mammals, Tim Rowland, said, “With just 650 Eastern black rhinos left in the wild, seeing the birth of a new calf and its very first steps is a very rare and special event indeed. 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.”
The mother will help the baby grow stronger and protect her.
Both mother and baby are safe inside the zoo, and the zookeepers hope that the new birth will help bring some attention to these amazing animals.
Rowlands added, “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. 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.”
While these animals may be doing well in zoos, they are still not safe in the wild.
Black rhinos have large horns that people pay a lot of money to buy. Poachers either kill the rhinos to take their horns or cut off the horns and leave them for dead. Without their horns, rhinos can’t defend themselves and do not live long. This is a huge problem for these animals.
According to National Geographic, “Black rhinos boast two horns, the foremost more prominent than the other. Rhino horns grow as much as three inches a year and have been known to grow up to five feet long. Females use their horns to protect their young, while males use them to battle attackers.”
The prominent horn for which rhinos are so well-known has also been their downfall.
Many animals have been killed for the hard, hair-like growth, which is revered for medicinal uses in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The horn is also valued in North Africa and the Middle East as an ornamental dagger handle. The black rhino once roamed most of sub-Saharan Africa, but today is on the verge of extinction due to poaching fueled by commercial demand for its horn.”
While authorities are trying to crack down on poachers, they just can’t stop them all. Black rhino numbers continue to dwindle, and more are dying each day. The birth of this adorable baby gives hope to these rhinos and those who are trying to save them.
The calf was born to a female rhino named Malindi.
Malindi gave birth to another calf in 2014. The Chester Zoo has a very successful rhino breeding program and has seen the birth 11 black rhino calves in 20 years.
Hopefully, these rhinos can grow up to become healthy and have more offspring.
We may see black rhinos go extinct in the wild in our lifetime. Thanks to breeding programs like the one at the Chester Zoo, we may be able to help this species survive captively and one day return the large breeding population to the wild.
Watch the beautiful video below.
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