AboutZoos, Since 2008


East­ern black rhino born at Chester Zoo — caught on camera

pub­lished 08 Feb­ru­ary 2015 | mod­i­fied 08 Feb­ru­ary 2015

Rhino and calf Chester ZooThe amaz­ing moment an East­ern black rhi­noc­eros (Diceros bicor­nis ssp. michaeli) gives birth has been caught on cam­era at Chester Zoo. Born on Jan 31 at 08:15, the female calf, which keep­ers have named Fara, is the off­spring of 17-​year-​old Kitani and 15-​year-​old dad, Sammy.

Sammy’s genes are extremely valu­able to the Euro­pean Endan­gered Species Breed­ing Pro­gramme for these crit­i­cally endan­gered animals.

This 50-​second footage shows mum deliver her new­born and the ten­der first moments as she checks over her calf:

Every birth is cause for great cel­e­bra­tion but given that East­ern black rhino face a real threat of extinc­tion our new arrival is even more sig­nif­i­cant. The calf is super impor­tant to the breed­ing pro­gramme in Europe and her arrival is another step towards sus­tain­ing a black rhino pop­u­la­tion which, in the wild, is being rav­aged by poach­ers on an almost daily basis.
(Tim Row­lands, cura­tor of mam­mals at Chester Zoo)

In the wild there are thought to be less than 650 East­ern black rhi­nos remain­ing, push­ing the species per­ilously close to extinc­tion. East­ern black rhi­nos are listed as Crit­i­cally Endan­gered by the Inter­na­tional Union for the con­ser­va­tion of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threat­ened Species™. Num­bers in Africa are plum­met­ing as a result of a dra­matic surge in ille­gal poach­ing, fuelled by a global increase in demand for rhino horn to sup­ply the tra­di­tional Asian med­i­cine mar­ket. The prob­lem is being dri­ven by the aston­ish­ing street value of rhino horn, which is cur­rently worth more per gram than gold and cocaine.

Chester Zoo black rhi­noc­eros con­ser­va­tion efforts

In-​situ con­ser­va­tion
Chester Zoo is one of the main organ­i­sa­tions fight­ing for the sur­vival of east­ern black rhino and has long sup­ported con­ser­va­tion efforts in the wild to try and pro­tect black rhi­nos and con­tin­ues to pump money, and pro­vide exper­tise, to numer­ous sanc­tu­ar­ies in Africa.

The Chester Zoo Black Rhino Pro­gramme started in 1999, in part­ner­ship with Save the Rhino, pro­vid­ing sub­stan­tial finan­cial sup­port to Kenya Wildlife Ser­vice to enable the translo­ca­tion of 20 black rhi­nos to wildlife reserves in the Tsavo region of Kenya.

More recently they have also pro­vided sup­port for the rhi­nos in Chyula Hills National Park and Laikipia Dis­trict in Kenya and Mko­mazi in Tan­za­nia.

Ex-​situ con­ser­va­tion
Help­ing to ensure an insur­ance pop­u­la­tion exists in the event that black rhino become extinct in the wild; Chester Zoo has been suc­cess­ful in breed­ing a num­ber of crit­i­cally endan­gered black rhi­nos and plays a vital part in the inter­na­tional breed­ing pro­gramme.

Ground-​breaking sci­ence by a team at Chester Zoo team has con­tributed to the zoo’s suc­cess­ful black rhino breed­ing pro­gramme. Zoo researchers have spent sev­eral years care­fully mon­i­tor­ing the hor­mone lev­els of their res­i­dent female rhi­nos in a bid to dis­cover the best time to intro­duce them to a poten­tial part­ner. These hor­mone lev­els are mon­i­tored by analysing rhino dung. Track­ing hor­mones gives an insight into what is going on inside the ani­mals. It can help tell things like whether or not an ani­mal is a sea­sonal breeder, whether it has reached puberty, whether it’s cycling on a reg­u­lar basis or not and when the opti­mum time to intro­duce a male to a female is, as well as diag­nose preg­nan­cies and esti­mate when an ani­mal will give birth.

(Source: Chester Zoo press release, 02.02.2015)

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