Footage of baby rhino's first steps
Keepers and staff at Howletts Wild Animal Park, one of Kent’s most popular visitor attractions, have been celebrating the birth of a delightful baby black rhino.
The tiny youngster, born just a week ago on 16th October 2016, has been bonding with her mother in her heated stable, whilst the dedicated keeper team monitor her progress.
Animal Director, Neil Spooner said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled. She’s delightful and both calf and mum, Salome, are doing well. This latest arrival signifies real hope for the future of this critically endangered species.’
The young calf, born to first time mother – Salome, has yet to be named but keepers are so pleased with her progress that they have released CCTV footage of her birth and first steps. The team are confident that mum and baby will be ready to explore the outside world very soon.
Jonathan Usher Smith, Head of Hoofstock Section added: ‘The footage of the calf taking her first steps is wonderful! As you can see, she is a little wobbly but that is to be expected just hours after birth. After only a week, she is already getting stronger and more confident – we’ve even seen her copying her mother and trying to eat browse – although she won’t be ready for solid food for quite some time yet.’
Listed as Critically Endangered, black rhino numbers in the wild have been decimated by poachers, who sell rhino horn to the Asian market, where it is believed to have medicinal properties.
The Aspinall Foundation, a leading conservation charity, working with Howletts and sister park Port Lympne has been working to protect black rhino since 1971 and has returned black rhino, born at Port Lympne Reserve, to protected areas in Africa, in the hope of saving the species. This summer, two of the returned rhino successfully gave birth in Africa, a testament to the success of the charity’s Back To The Wild initiative.
Howletts latest arrival, firmly cements the conservation charity’s reputation as being the most successful breeders of black rhino in the UK, with a staggering total of 37 births to date.