instagram envelope_alt facebook twitter search youtube_play whatsapp remove external_link loop2 arrow-down2

‘Mischievous’ baby rhino cheers zoo staff mourning loss of oldest lioness

AN ADORABLE baby white rhino has become the latest attraction at a zoo.

The young calf was born happy and healthy last Wednesday at Colchester Zoo in Essex — bringing the zoo’s total number of white rhinos to six.

The new arrival is doing well and ‘becoming stronger day by day’ — and already becoming a ‘mischievous character’, the zoo says.

His mother Astrid, who came to live at Colchester Zoo in 2016, gave birth to the calf, her firstborn, at around 9.45pm, after carrying him for 16 months.

And the seven-year-old first-time mum is already forming a strong bond with her youngster.

The young calf does not yet have a name as the zoo’s animal care team is waiting until his personality develops.

But to help raise funds for Colchester Zoo’s Operating Fund, the zoo will give its supporters the chance to vote for their favourite name — with the name that raises the most funds being chosen.

A spokesperson for Colchester Zoo said: ‘During the evening on Wednesday, October 14, the animal care team noticed Astrid’s behaviour change, indicating that she was in labour.

‘Therefore, staff came into the zoo at 9pm to monitor Astrid close by via the cameras so they were on hand if any problems arose.

‘Astrid’s birth progressed really well, and luckily there was no need for intervention by the animal care team as the healthy calf was born at 9.45pm.

‘Keepers could identify the calf as male via the cameras.

‘Within the hour of being born, he managed to stand and Astrid offered him reassurance. It was not long after he was then suckling from mum.’

The new calf will share his home with his mum and his dad, Otto, as well as fellow white rhino Emily and her calf Lottie, born earlier this year, and another white rhino, Binta.

White rhinos are listed as ‘near threatened’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list due to the poaching crisis and ivory trade, so this birth is ‘brilliant’ news for the conservation of this species, Colchester Zoo says.

The arrival of the young rhino came just hours after the zoo said an emotional farewell to Malika, their oldest lioness, who passed away last Tuesday morning aged 16.

Malika, her sister Naja, and their male cousin Bailey, had all lived together at Colchester Zoo since 2010.

She sadly suffered liver disease, with her health deteriorating quickly over a short space of time.