'Surprise' Indian rhino born at Chester Zoo

Komala the Indian rhino
Image caption Komala, whose Indian name means delicate, was described as "a proper little bruiser"

The birth of the first Indian rhino to be born at a Cheshire zoo was a "surprise", keepers have said.

The rhino, which has been named Komala, was born at Chester Zoo in July but has been kept from public for the first two months of her life.

Curator of mammals Tim Rowlands said keepers had had "a hunch" her mother Asha was pregnant, but were not sure.

He said it had been "rather marvellous to come in and find that Asha had a big bundle of joy [for us]".

The calf, whose Indian name means delicate, was "a proper little bruiser", he said.

Komala, who has almost doubled in size since her arrival on 7 July, weighed about 10 stone (65kg) at birth.

Mr Rowlands said her arrival had "raised a smile amongst the keepers", who have already welcomed three black rhinos in less than a year.

"Our rhino keeping team, and indeed the rhinos themselves, have had the most fantastic few months and clearly our Indian rhinos weren't about to be outdone.

"Although we had an inkling that Asha was pregnant, it was just that - an inkling and a hunch that comes with experienced keepers."

He added that Komala was both a "breeding first for us [and] a bonus for the population of Indian rhinos, which are yet another rhino species being put at risk as they are cruelly and brutally poached for their horn".

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