A rare endangered rhino surprised unsuspecting visitors at Chester Zoo, England, as she gave birth in her enclosure, right before their eyes!
The 12-year-old Eastern black rhino, Malindi, gave birth to a male calf after a 15-month long pregnancy. It particularly came as a surprise because rhinos usually give birth in the early hours of the morning or at night, and usually in seclusion. Malindi, however, went into labor around 12 p.m. and gave birth in front of delighted onlookers. The delivery was safe and easy, and took about half an hour. Following the birth, the mother and son are bonding together well as she regularly nurses him.
Chester Zoo shared the good news on Twitter.
Something INCREDIBLE just happened in our rhino house…
Welcome to the world, precious little one! ❤️️🦏 pic.twitter.com/R1VEMSOHG1
— Chester Zoo (@chesterzoo) August 2, 2018
Due to the hunting of black rhinos for their horns, the species has been named endangered, with only about 650 of them left in the world. In the traditional Asian medicine market, the rhino horn is currently worth more than gold and drugs. In such conditions, the birth of the calf marks a huge success. Zoo conservationists have described the event as ‘very rare and special’.
Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals at Chester Zoo, said, “Visitors to the zoo were treated to something incredibly special when Eastern black rhino, Malindi, went in to labour in front of them. With just 650 Eastern black rhino left in the wild, seeing the birth of a new calf and its very first steps is a very rare and special event indeed.”
“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,” he 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 cousin.”
Mike Jordan, collections director at Chester Zoo, said the new arrival is a ‘real boost’ for the endangered species. in Chester alone, it has raised the number of Eastern black rhinos to have been born at Chester Zoo to 11. The mother, Malindi, has previously had one calf in 2013, a female called Dakima. The 19-year-old father, Magadi, has sired five other calves.
“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,” Mike added.
Chester Zoo continues to support conservation efforts to protect black rhinos, while also funding and providing expertise to other wildlife reserves in Africa.