Whipsnade's baby rhino is an early Christmas present
Friday 22 December 2000
PHOTOCALL... PHOTOCALL... PHOTOCALL...
PLACE: WHIPSNADE WILD ANIMAL PARK
DATE: WEDNESDAY, 27TH DECEMBER 2000
TIME: MEET AT ESTATE OFFICE, 10.15AM
BABY RHINO IS AN EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENT!
Christmas has come a week early at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park with the arrival of an extra-special bundle -- a baby white rhino!
First-time Mum, Clara, was herself born at Whipsnade in 1981 to Caroline, who can now look forward to Christmas as a Grandmother. The latest youngster, a female, was born early in the morning of Friday 15th December. New-born calves are perfect miniature versions of their parents and grandparents -- although tiny at only 4% of their weight. They have large ears and feet and wrinkled skin which looks as though it needs some serious growing into!
Whipsnade's latest arrival is the fourth calf to be born within 15 months in what has been an extraordinary year for this species at the Park. Forty-eight calves have now been born since the breeding herd was established in 1970. A recently developed technique means that keepers can now tell when a white rhino is pregnant -- no mean feat with such a large bulky animal -- and prepare for the calf's arrival. This technique will be featured in a special programme on New Year's Day on BBC1 called Making Animal Babies, presented by Philippa Forrester, which also features the breeding of London Zoo's Emperor tamarins.
All four white rhino calves have different mothers, but share the same Father, Nsiswa, who came to the Park in 1991. These young rhinos are particularly precious to a species that was once thought to be extinct. The latest youngster has not yet been named, but it is hoped she will soon join half-sisters Enkeling, Zinzi and Marula for many adventures in their large outside paddock. In the meantime, Mum and calf can look forward to spending the cosy winter nights together.
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