Incredible Moment Critically Endangered Rhino Gives Birth At Chester Zoo
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The baby rhino was safely delivered by mum Ema Elsa following a 15 month pregnancy. In the heartwarming clip, the little rhino can be seen taking her first wobbly steps as she arrived into the world on 29th October.
With fewer than 1,000 eastern black rhinos remaining on the planet, conservationists at the zoo have said her arrival will be "celebrated globally".
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.
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"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."
Zookeepers are now asking the public to help them decide on the name of the little rhino. In a Facebook poll, the shortlisted names are: Kasulu (a town in Tanzania), Koshi (meaning 'to try') and Kaari (meaning 'young girl/young daughter').
In the wild, the eastern black rhinos are found only in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. Experts believe the multibillion pound illegal wildlife trade is driving the species towards extinction with the surge in demand of rhino horn.
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."
In a bid to optimise successful reproduction of the rhinos, scientists at Chester Zoo have developed a technique to track their oestrus cycles via hormone analysis of the rhinos' dung.
It is said to help keepers to decide when best to introduce females to a mate - a method which is now being used in Kenya, too.
This is the happiest of news! Welcome to the world little one!
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
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