West Midland Safari Park is celebrating the birth of its third southern white rhino in three years.
Second-time-mum, Ailsa, gave birth to the male rhino calf during the early hours of Tuesday 25 September, following a pregnancy of 16 months.
Under the watchful eye of eight-year-old mum, the little one was given a brief health check by his Keepers and at just 48 hours old already weighed in at 67 kilograms (10 and a half stone)!
The baby boy is another fantastic success for the Park’s white rhino breeding programme, following the birth of three-year-old male, Ekozu, and Fahari, who celebrated her first birthday earlier this month.
Angela Potter, Head of Wildlife, said: “We are so delighted to welcome our new calf, who popped into the world at 2.17am during the early hours of Tuesday morning. He is a strong boy and was up and walking within 20 minutes of birth. Ailsa is a very loving and protective mother and we are extremely proud of her.”
She continued: “Each new rhino birth is a success story for the European Endangered Species Programme and for the species as a whole. Although he just missed World Rhino Day, we hope his birth will raise some much needed attention to the plight of all the rhino species in the wild.”
With wild rhinos continually facing a threat of poaching and habitat loss, any birth is of great importance for the conservation of this magnificent species. At the last count, just over 20,000 wild southern white rhinos remained in South Africa, with 1,028 killed in 2017.
Although the newborn is yet to be named, keepers will be choosing a name beginning with ‘G’, as all babies born at the Park in 2018 will begin with this letter.
The youngster has already made his first tentative steps into his paddock and will eventually join his brother, Ekozu and half-sister, Fahari, on the Safari Drive-through within the next few weeks.
Comprising of five females and three males, the new birth now brings the ‘crash’ of southern white rhinos up to eight. This includes the little one’s dad, thirteen-year-old Barney, who himself was born at the Park in 2005.
The ‘crash’ of rhinos can be seen on the four-mile Safari Drive-through, which is included in the standard admission charge of £24.00 for adults, £19.00 for children aged 3-15 and £22.00 for concessions. Children under the age of three years are admitted free of charge. Admission includes a Free Return Ticket. Adventure Theme Park rides are charged extra.
Further information and discounted tickets are available from the Park’s website www.wmsp.co.uk or by telephone 01299 402114.