Second Eastern black rhino calf in six months for Chester Zoo

Eastern black rhinoceros and calf at Chester Zoo Curator of mammals Tim Rowlands said the birth of the calf was "great news"

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Staff at Chester Zoo are celebrating the success of their breeding programme following the birth of a second Eastern black rhinoceros in six months.

The calf, which was born on 7 March, is the offspring of seven-year-old mother Malindi and 13-year-old father Magadi.

She has not been seen by zoo visitors, as she is being kept in privacy while she bonds with her mother.

Curator of mammals, Tim Rowlands, said despite it being Malindi's first calf, she was "doing a great job".

Eastern black rhinoceros

Eastern black rhinoceros
  • The Eastern black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) is a subspecies of the black rhinoceros and is found in the wild in Kenya and Tanzania
  • In 1970, 20,000 lived in the wild, but that number had dropped to around 600 in 2010, leading the International Union for Conservation of Nature to list it as critically endangered
  • It is illegally hunted for its horn, which can fetch up to £40,000 per kilo

Source: Chester Zoo

The birth follows the arrival of another calf at the beginning of October and brings the number of Eastern black rhinos at the zoo to nine.

Mr Rowlands said the species was under "a very real threat of extinction" in the wild, due to illegal poaching, which makes every birth "vital to their survival".

"The zoo puts a vast amount of time, money and effort into trying to protect the species in the wild and supports a number of important reserves across Africa," he said.

"However, as demand for rhino horn intensifies, the poaching crisis is escalating out of control.

"That's why we need to ensure we have an insurance population in Europe and that's why this arrival is such great news."

Less than 650 Eastern black rhinos are thought to remain in the wild.

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