Rhino celebrates first birthday by devouring ‘cake’

Channelling their inner Mary Berry, rhino keepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo swapped their brooms for baking tins this week, as they prepared a very special birthday cake for rhino calf Bali’s first birthday.

Bali eating his birthday cake with mum Behan
Bali eating his birthday cake with mum Behan

Juvenile male, Bali, a greater one-horned rhino who weighs in at an impressive one-hundred stone, wasted no time at all in demolishing his birthday surprise - with mum Behan making sure she got in on the action.

To mark the occasion, Bali’s dedicated keepers spent hours creating a bespoke cake, made from a recipe featuring the rhino’s favourite food including apples, carrots, parsnips, bananas, grapes and carrots.

While Bali, and his one-and-a-half tonne mother, were at first relaxing in their wallowing pool, once they spotted the cake they soon came charging over to make light work of the masterpiece.

Bali's keepers with his birthday cake
Bali's keepers with his birthday cake

Senior keeper Chrisy Sellwood-Brown, who helped make the cake, said: “Bali’s first birthday is a cause for celebration, as his birth marked a huge success for the European conservation breeding programme for greater one-horned rhinos, which are classified as vulnerable in the wild due to illegal poaching and habitat loss.

“It might look like just a bit of fun, but the cake was great enrichment for the mum and son duo – they’re inquisitive animals who love to investigate new things and this was a very exciting treat to discover.

“While our cake might not win us star baker on the Great British Bake Off, I’m sure Mary Berry would give us rhino keepers an A+ for effort!”

On September 6 2015, Bali became the 14th greater one-horned rhino to be born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, which was one of the first ever Zoos in the world to breed the species in 1957.

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