Zoo celebrates rare new arrivals

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Rare black rhino calf with its mother © Chester Zoo

Staff at Chester Zoo have been celebrating this weekend after two endangered animals were born only days apart from each other.

The rare Rothschild giraffe and critically-endangered black rhino are welcome new editions to the zoo.

The giraffe is the first-born for new mum Dagmar, following her 14-and-a-half-month pregnancy. The baby is already five-and-a-half feet tall  and the Rothschild is one of the most endangered of the nine sub-species of giraffe

Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals at Chester Zoo, said: “Dagma is a first-time mum but you’d never guess it – she has been doing brilliantly so far. She seems to be taking motherhood all in her, rather long, stride.

“The baby is strong and tall and she was on her feet really quickly and suckling from mum not long after.”

Just days later came the arrival of a second baby, an extremely rare black rhino calf.

Mother and baby giraffe © Chester Zoo

Her birth marks another step towards sustaining a black rhino population which has been ravaged by poachers in the wild.

Zoo keeper Helen Massey said: “Black rhinos face a very real threat of extinction and so every birth is vital to ensure their survival. The zoo puts a heck of a lot of time, money and effort into trying to protect the species in the wild and we support a number of sanctuaries across Africa.

“However, as the demand for rhino horn intensifies, poaching is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.”

It is hoped that the new calf will eventually join the international breeding programme, which has already seen some black rhinos returned to Africa to help boost numbers.

About Karina Galli, JMU Journalism