Friday 24 March 2017

Zoo's new little rhino goes full throttle as he meets his public

Dublin Zoo's newest resident, an unnamed southern white rhinoceros calf, was on the hoof straight away yesterday as he ventured outdoors in the African Plains section following his
birth to mother Ashanti last Friday
Dublin Zoo's newest resident, an unnamed southern white rhinoceros calf, was on the hoof straight away yesterday as he ventured outdoors in the African Plains section following his birth to mother Ashanti last Friday
The new southern white rhino calf checks in with mother Ashanti while taking his public bow in Dublin Zoo yesterday

Fiona Ellis

THE new, snub-nosed, wrinkly resident of Dublin Zoo seems to be missing something important.

The male southern white rhinoceros calf recently born in the zoo is missing his horns -- but don't worry it is completely normal, according to keeper Helen Clarke-Bennet.

"He was born with only the rough edge of the beginnings of one and the smaller one is just a dimple on his head. He will grow one," she said.

The horns will grow about 10cm in the first year and 5cm a year from then on.

The latest arrival was born last Friday and is one very big bundle of joy, weighing in at just under 50kg.

In time he will grow up to a considerable 3,000kg but for now he is still very much a newborn and can be seen full of life bounding around his enclosure under the careful watch of his mother Ashanti.

"We are absolutely thrilled with the new arrival. He is a typical young male with lots of energy and curiosity," said Ms Clarke-Bennet.

"Mother and son are bonding and will remain close for the first year of his life," she added.

This calf is another success for Dublin Zoo as part of the European Breeding Programme established to assist the survival of endangered southern white rhinoceros.

Hunted

These rhinos are hunted for their horns and it is estimated that there are only 17,500 left in the wild.

"This male is a significant birth because he will play an important role for future breeding programmes," said Ms Clarke-Bennet.

The new rhino calf can be seen alongside his mother, older sister Zuki and father Chaka at the African Plains section in the zoo. The best time to view the new calf is between 11am and 1pm.

Dublin Zoo has invited fans to suggest a name for the newest arrival -- based on his African origin -- to be in with the chance of winning an annual family pass.

To enter send suggestions to Dublin Zoo by post, email or via its Facebook page.

Irish Independent

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