Happy half birthday Nandi!

by ZSL on

Our baby rhino Nandi is 6 months old already! If you've visited Whipsnade Zoo recently, you'll have seen how much she's grown in confidence - and size. We're looking back at some of her cutest moments. 

Last summer, we were delighted to welcome a new arrival to our Southern white rhino 'crash'. Named Nandi by zookeepers, which means ‘sweet one’ in Zulu, the female calf was born at 4am on 21 August 2021, following a 16-month pregnancy. 

Nandi spent most of her first couple of weeks staying close to mum Tuli, resting in her cosy indoor area and drinking milk. Tuli was naturally quite protective and was, and continues to be, a doting mum. 

Nandi was understandably wobbly when she walked on her over-sized, rubbery feet, but soon got the hang of it. At only a few weeks old, she was becoming increasingly playful, and curious about the world around her, and her keepers felt she was ready to venture outside. She was naturally hesitant at first, but it didn't take long before she was running around with Tuli to explore her 18-acre enclosure and meet the rest of the herd. 

She was introduced gradually to dad Sizzle, our only male white rhino, so that they could get used to each other. She likes to give him a sniff and Sizzle is very good and gentle with her. The whole herd are now all together in the same paddock, but Sizzle leaves the parenting to Tuli!

Have you ever heard Nandi communicate with the others in the herd? Turn your sound up to watch the video below - she makes the cutest noise!

Now at 6 months old, Nandi is a confident calf and has become quite independent. She's happy to do her own thing - if it's a bit chilly and she doesn’t want to go out into the paddock in the mornings and Tuli does, she'll stay behind inside and doesn't have to follow mum everywhere anymore. If they’re both out in the paddock, Nandi will also happily wander away from Tuli to interact with the others in the herd. You may spot her play fighting with four-year-old Fahari! 

Nandi is also very cheeky. She absolutely loves a scratch from keepers - under the legs and under the chin are the favourites! 

While she's still mainly on Tuli's milk, Nandi does seem to like to have a go chewing on the hay and pellet, and we can't wait to watch her continue to learn and develop. When the sun’s shining you’ll often see her running around the paddock, so look out for her when you next visit!

About white rhinos

Nandi is a precious addition to the European Endangered species breeding programme for Southern white rhinos - the world’s second largest land mammal. According to the IUCN Red List for Threatened Species, there are approximately 10,000 left in the wild, and their numbers are decreasing due to poaching, habitat loss, introduction of invasive species and climate change. By visiting our rhinos in the Zoo, you're helping to support our conservation work to protect animals around the world - thank you!

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