It’s been a remarkable time at Cotswold Wildlife Park and a milestone for both the European Breeding Programme and for Rhino conservation. Two weeks ago, White Rhino Ruby gave birth to the tenth Rhino born at the Park in the last decade – a huge achievement. It’s rare to catch Rhino births on camera as females usually give birth during the night but luckily keepers were at the Park when the calf was born. They managed to film some incredible footage of the birth (at around 5pm on Saturday 12 August 2023) and the first moments in the new arrival’s life.
Less than one week later, in the early hours of Saturday 19 August 2023, White Rhino Nancy gave birth to a second calf. It’s the first time in the Park’s history that two Rhinos have given birth in the space of just one week – a momentous chapter in the Park’s history as Managing Director of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Reggie Heyworth, explains. “It is so exciting to welcome a White Rhino calf into the world. So it is even more amazing that in the space of one week, both our wonderful female Rhinos, Nancy and Ruby, have now had calves! Ruby had a male calf on 12th August and, not wanting to be left out of the excitement, Nancy popped out a female calf on 19th August! That makes it 11 calves born here at the Wildlife Park in 11 years. What joy they have brought to us all, they are just the most charismatic and lovely animals and visitors and staff alike are absolutely entranced by them. My father, the founder of the Wildlife Park, died in 2012 just before our first calf was born but I’m sure that he would be absolutely over the moon if he knew. Rhinos are a real Heyworth favourite!’’
Award-winning photographer and friend of the Park, Rory Carnegie, photographed both calves hours after they were born.
(photo credits: Rory Carnegie)
Rather aptly, both births took place during ‘Rhino Month’ (the Park’s annual Rhino conservation awareness month). Ruby’s calf had a rather famous first visitor. Reggie Heyworth adds: “Dear friends of the Wildlife Park, Ruby Wax and her husband Ed Bye, were the very first to see our new baby Rhino, while we were still keeping his mum ‘Ruby’ and him under observation on Sunday 13th August. Ruby named the Rhino mum ‘Ruby’ when she arrived all the way from South Africa back in 2009, just ahead of the Wildlife Park’s Ruby Anniversary in March 2010. It really has been a double celebration, welcoming a new baby Rhino and seeing Ruby and Ed again – such supportive visitors of the Wildlife Park.”
Nancy’s latest calf was born almost ten years after she produced the Park’s first Rhino breeding success – a female called Astrid, born in July 2013.
Fundraising to save this iconic species in the wild – Endangered Faeces Auction: Throughout August, Cotswold Wildlife Park hosts its annual Rhino conversation fundraising event, ‘Rhino Month’, to raise awareness and funds for Rhino conservation work in Africa. For the first time ever, a 23.75 Karat Gold-Leafed Rhino dropping is being auctioned off to raise funds for UK-based conservation charity Tusk (of which Prince William is Royal Patron). Simon Cowell recently visited the Park with his family and generously placed the opening bid at £2,500. It has since been outbid and the current bid stands at £5,050. Future bids are welcome.
More info: https://uk.givergy.com/endangeredfaecesauction/