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You are in: Devon > Nature > Nature Features > Zuri's first birthday

Zuri side by side with her mum Sita

Zuri side by side with her mum Sita

Zuri's first birthday

Paignton Zoo's baby black rhino is one year old and is teaching her mum Sita some new tricks. We've been to see how she's grown over the past 12 months.

Rhinocam wins innovation award

BBC South West has won a prestigious Media Innovation Award for bringing Zuri's birth to a worldwide audience.

The rhinocam became cult viewing for thousands of rhino watchers around the globe as they followed the pregnancy of Paignton Zoo's female black rhino Sita.

Judges at the award ceremony in Plymouth described it as a "fantastic collaboration" between the BBC Devon website, the Inside Out TV programme and broadband providers.

On 5 March 2007 people all over the world watched via webcam as Paignton Zoo's baby black rhino, Zuri, was born.

Web-watchers held their breath as Zuri battled for five hours to find her feet and another hour to get her first feed from mum, Sita.

Now one year old, Zuri has gone from strength to strength and has grown into a healthy and confident young rhino.

Keepers at Paignton Zoo are delighted with her progress.

Zuri's horn is growing well

Zuri's horn is growing well

"Zuri has grown into a proper little rhino," said senior rhino keeper Jason Knight. "She's doing really well and we've had no problems at all.

"You can see how she has bulked up over the past 12 months and her horn has grown quite big.

"We'd love to know how much weight Zuri has put on, but unfortunately we have no way of weighing her."

Growing in confidence

Zuri has become much more confident about her surroundings and is happy to let the keepers scratch her ears and feed her by hand. And the confidence of youth has rubbed off on her mum, Sita.

"Sita and Zuri have bonded really well," explained Jason. "It's been interesting to see how Sita has changed having a youngster around.

"She was always quite nervous and would get quite upset if you put something new into her pen.

"Zuri isn't troubled by that, so we've started adding new things to stimulate them. Sita is definitely more relaxed and is learning from her daughter."

Zuri has a confident personality

Zuri has a confident personality

It's normal for rhinos to suckle for around 18 months, so despite her size, Zuri is still taking milk from her mother.

However, the youngster is munching her way through plenty of solid food like apples and carrots and can often be seen chewing branches.

Mother and daughter are likely to stay together for at least another year or two. They'll have to be separated when Sita is ready to mate again with father, Kingo.

"Zuri's going to be here at Paignton Zoo for another year or two, maybe more," said Jason.

"She's our first baby black rhino, but we're hoping to have some more. We've learnt so much from the experience.

"She's likely to move to another zoo when she's a bit older. Obviously she can't mate with Kingo, so she'll probably be found a suitable partner elsewhere. 

"Long term, Zuri is part of a captive breeding programme and we hope she's going to have a role to play in saving the black rhino."

Many of Zuri's 'fans' still pay regular visits to see how she is getting on, making her the zoo's star attraction over the past 12 months.

last updated: 17/03/2008 at 16:54
created: 29/02/2008

Have Your Say

If you've been following Zuri's story, send us your comments here:

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Lisa, Bognor
Am glad to see someone else has remembered it's Zuri's 2nd birthday! I'm still enjoying watching her on the webcam.

Jane in Torquay
March 5th 2009...HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY ZURI...and well done Sita for being such a wonderful mum.

rachel stephenson
the story was nice and i love him.

Chris P Paignton
Hi Chris, Jane, Carole and Roger, won't be long before we are all meeting again!!!!!!! looking forward to seeing you all and of course our wonderful Rhinos NOT forgetting Louise one of the keepers OOps forgot to say tis Sunday 26th October 2008 wet and windy Paignton today I'm afraid

Jane in Torquay
30th September 2008FANTASTIC NEWS EVERYONE....Paignton Zoo has just installed a permanent webcam in the Rhino House It's up and running...Yippee!

Mollie from Epsom
It does not seem over a year since Zuri was born, what a begiling youg lady she is becoming. I saw her in the flesh a year ago.

Chris P Paignton
Good afternoon everyone 23rd May 2008 Had a fabulous visit to the Zoo yesterday with my Rhino pal Jane, awww can't believe out little one is growing so so fast. Well done Jane on taking some lovely piccies.....I still get emotional at seeing Zuri and her mummy Sita. Looking forward to our next outing

Jane in Torquay
23rd May 2008. Thank you BBC for posting the photos of Zuri at 15 months - Chris P and I had a lovely day visiting Sita and Zuri yesterday. They now have the run of both Rhino houses , and now that Kingo has gone they have the use of the whole paddock and grassy area too - so Zuri can certainly stretch her legs. She has grown SO much! Lunch time in the Rhino house now means a double portion - it appears that they both have the same amount of food. Lunch was placed in what was Kingo's house and the same amount in Sita's house, and they both went from one to the other selecting the best bits first! After lunch Zuri had a long feed from Sita to wash it all down! We still feel so privileged to be able to see Zuri develop and watch Sita being such a good mother.

mensah desmond
i think zui's story is very enjoying

Chris P Paignton
Morning everyone 16th May 2008 Awwww yes I was sad to hear Kingo had gone back to Port Lympne but pray he will become a daddy again and then return to Paignton at some point. Like Carol am honoured I had the pleasure of meeting him with Sita and Zuri.....see you soon Sita and Zuri..............

Jane in Torquay
12th May. I hope Kingo had a stress free trip to Port Lympne. I was sad to hear he'd gone. We'll miss him, but I hope he enjoys being back there again.

Carol from Wiltshire
So sorry to hear that Kingo is being moved. I'm sure the keepers will miss him, even if he was in a strop on Zuri's birthday! I feel honoured to have seen him and fed him along with Sita and Zuri, and I won't forget him, bless him!

Carol from Wiltshire
Chris P., no it doesn't seem like two months have passed does it? It's also a year ago yesterday (May 4th) that I first saw Sita , Zuri and Kingo 'in the flesh'. At this rate we will soon be meeting up again to celebrate Zuri's second birthday!

Chris P Paignton
Monday 5th cannot believe it is two months since we met up for Zuri's first birthday........seems a lovely day today......well tis dry at the moment (6.19am) hope everyone has a lovely day

Chris P Paignton
It is Monday 14th April and the sun has got it's hat on. OOOOOOOOOH I'll bet Zuri is out in the paddock playing with her Mummy. My word she is growing so fast isn't she. See you soon little one

he is so cute

Jane P, Surrey
Hi Rhino WatchersStumbled across this update the other day and was pleased to see the original rhino watchers have all been busy, also great to see the new video as we didn't get it on TV. Can't believe a year has passed, who would have thought that little scrap would end up so big and bouncy, hope I might get to see her again before she's fully grown. Happy Birthday to Zuri and congratulations to the team on the award - at least I have more free time now I'm not daily 'rhino watching'!

Jane in Torquay
April 6th 2008Ooooh... We had snow in Torbay today! I would dearly have loved to see what Zuri made of it.

Carol from Wiltshire
I just wanted to wish a belated 'Congratulations' to BBC Devon, Inside Out, and Paignton Zoo for the innovation award. I have sent 2 previous messages of congratulation, but they haven't been posted. Maybe they got lost in cyber-space! I hope our little family are all well and haven't been too cold the last few days.

Chris P Paignton
Morning everyone, it is Friday 21st March. HAPPY EASTER TO YOU ALL...........well what a night last night, blowing a hooley, do hope our little Zuri wasn't too frightened. I shall see her soon anyway, hope you all have a good weekend. tc

josy from stafford
It really does'nt seem like a year has gone by since we had that awful wait when zuri was born. well done to all concerned for keeping us up to date with the progress of mum and zuri. I still like to log on and see how they are doing. This is a brilliant web site. Thank you.

Jane in Torquay
******CONGRATULATIONS****** BBC Devon, Inside Out and Paignton Zoo for winning a prestigious innovation award for the rhino webcam. It's brilliant news and very much deserved.

Chris P Paignton
Sunday 16th March 2008 Congratulations on the Innovation Award for the Rhino webcam. Excellent news and well deserved. My little mate Chris from Torrington mailed with the news and I have just been reading about it on your website. Well done ALL

Carol from Wiltshire
I have just been looking back at the messages posted on the board on the night Zuri was born. What a difference a year makes! We needn't have spent a sleepless night worrying need we? Zuri couldn't be happier or more healthy and Sita's a wonderful mum. It's nice to see a few familiar names from those days popping up again now. Wendy P. from Salt Lake City, are you still out there? BBC host - how long will the message board keep running this time?

Reply from Laura, BBC Devon: Hi Carol. We haven't put a deadline on it, but we'll let you know when we are about to take it down - it's not imminent though (as at 10th March 2008).

Jane in Torquay
Hi Laura at the BBC thanks for putting some of our photos on Zuri's first birthday page. I'm getting a year's subscription soon so will be able to visit the zoo regularly and keep a check on our stars - aren't I lucky!


Chris, Torrington
6th March. What a great day yesterday, what with BBC Spotlight and West Country Live being there and children singing Happy Birthday to Zuri. It was a great privilege to feed her apples again and stroke her nose. Thanks Paignton for a special day especially Louise. It was lovely meeting up again with my friends from the message board. Hopefully we will all be back again soon.

Jane in Torquay
March 6th 2008 Wow! what a great day we had at the zoo yesterday. It was lovely to meet up with my friends from the message board again. We were extremely lucky and privileged to have been able to feed Zuri and Sita some apples again - and watch Louise the keeper feeding them some special birthday cake. We watched a group of school children singing 'happy birthday' to Zuri and I'm sure I saw her smile! She did a gallop round the paddock to show everyone how clever she is. She sure has grown but is still as cute as ever! We didn't see her indoors in the afternoon as she was fast asleep against the wall - recovering from a long exciting morning. Thanks again to Paignton Zoo and Louise, it was a wonderful day.

Chris P Paignton 6th March 2008
Morning all, wow what a day was magnificent. Isn't our little one just gorgeous!!!!! and how she has grown. Thankyou Louise,Lucy and Paignton Zoo for allowing us the opportunity to feed the little star again and thankyou BBC for this update. Gosh I am still on cloud 9............can't believe we have been on the telly. THANKS AGAIN FOR A WONDERFUL DAY

steve morrison.
We have yearly membership to the zoo and visit every chance we get.Zuri and her mum give many visitors much pleasure.Kingo is also a worth a visit.Happy Birthday Zuri.

Eliza Bennet
I can't believe it's been a whole year since we chewed our fingernails to the bone waiting for you to be born, Zuri - happy birthday!

Carol From Wiltshire
March 5th, 9pm. Well, what a fabulous day we had today, celebrating Zuri's birthday! It was great to meet up with Chris, Chris and Jane again and also Louise. It's just a shame that Jill in Australia couldn't be there. Thanks Louise for letting us feed Zuri and Sita again. Hope Kingo gets over his strop soon! We are all TV stars now, nearly as famous as Zuri!

pensioner, Silverton
I just want to say a big thank you for keeping this site going and bringing all the up to date photos of Sita and Zuri.Happy Birthday Zita!! We will be visiting again soon.

John, Bovey Tracey
We have enjoyed following the progess of Zuri from her birth to date. Thank you for including them on your website.


DONNA from Yelverton
Happy Birthday, Zuri from another Archers fan - we kept vigil for you for weeks, awaiting your birth and you are worth all the sleepless nights!See you again soon!

Jill - Australia

Jane in Torquay
*HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZURI*It's a beautiful sunny morning and a complete contrast to the stormy night when she was born - a year ago today. I'm so looking forward to seeing her today as well as Louise, Chris P, Carol, Chris J, and of course Sita and Kingo.

Bernard Jones
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZURIfrom a fellow PaigntonianBernard

Jason, Torquay
Fantastic remember vividly how my wifes waters broke and we were hoping that or little daughter was born on the same day, but my wife had to wait until the 7th for Daisy to come along.we are annual members of the Zoo snd Our Little Daisy loves it.Happy 1st Birthday ZURI, I'll save you some of Daisy's cake!

E. Yore
A very happy birthday to our wonder girl - all those days and yeeks of watching and waiting and that nerve-wracking night waiting for Zuri to stand up seem like yesterday. Zuri is even more beautiful in real life and what a star she is! Her parents can be proud of her!!Zuri, the Rhino watchers of the Archers board salute you!

Kalyani, Geneva
Happy happy birthday you beautiful little big girl! I cannot believe that the baby who could barely stand up is now almost a pin-up. Stay well and a big kiss to you and your mum.

Chris P . Paignton
Whooppeeeeee it's almost here, probably by the time this message gets out it will be ********** HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY ZURI*********See you soon ladies and excited

Chris, Torrington
Great to see the message board again and the photos are great. Can't believe how much Zuri has grown since we went to see her in September. So looking forward to seeing Zuri, Carol, Chris, Jane and Louise tomorrow.

Carol from Wiltshire
Chris P - you bet I'm excited! I bought my apples this morning. Can't wait to see you, Jane and Chris again, and of course our beautiful Zuri (not forgetting Sita and Kingo of course!).

Chris P Paignton
Tuesday 4th March -----am...............ooooooooooh Carol,Chris and Jane, only one more sleep and we will be seeing our little one again. Can't wait, are you all getting a little excited??? I know I am. Have a happy day all. Thanks again for the lovely new piccies

Chris P Paignton
Carol, Jane and Chris only two more sleeps and we will be meeting and seeing our little Zuri again. Yippee

jackie (northampton)
happy birthday zuri, can't believe its a year since we watchers had all those sleepless nights!! x

Happy Birthday Zuri! you became something of a web phenomena and its great to see you doing so well. Hey folks why no go see Zuri at Paignton zoo?, its worth a trip and the kids will love it :) TP

Christine Kendall
It been fasinating to watch her grow over the past year and to think she is now a lively 1 year old. Happy birthday Zuri.

Happy Birthday Zuri!

Jane in Torquay
Thanks for the update on Zuri - the new photos of her are gorgeous. Can't wait to see her on her birthday next Wednesday.

Bernard Jones

Jill - Australia
Thanks for these wonderful photos....I think Zuri's more gorgeous now than ever! Doesnt really pay to get too emotionally involved, does it, the thought of those two being parted is pretty sad. :-( However, for the moment we'll enjoy continuing to watch Zuri develop. All the best to my pals who will be able to come to the Zoo on the fifth...will be thinking of you all!!!

Bernard Jones
HAPPY Birthday next Wednesday Zuri.congrats Sita on a lovely daughter. Be thinking of you both from a fellow Paigntonian. Bernard.

Lisa, Bognor
Thank you so much for the update. I can still remember all the stress of watching the night Zuri was born (as well as the endless ones waiting for something to happen)!Happy Birthday Zuri x

Carol from Wiltshire
Happy birthday to our darling little Zuri. It doesn't seem like a year ago when we were watching the drama unfold. I can't wait to see you on Wednesday with your other big fans, Chris, Chris and Jane. Love the new photos! Leaving messages like this brings back wonderful memories - it's like you never went away, Beeb!

Chris P Paignton
Can't wait for the update this evening. Four of us ladies - ie Carol,Chris,Jane and me are meeting again on Wednesday for Zuri's first birthday. Card made ready to take. She is such a star, can't believe how much she has grown as I saw her last weekend. Thanks BBC and the wonderful Zoo and keepers, I for one will be heartbroken when Zuri has to leave Paignton Zoo

Kevin - Paignton
Happy Birthday Zuri -you're a real star

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