The amazing moment a rare baby southern white rhino was born at West Midland Safari Park, has been caught on CCTV.
Keepers watching the live footage behind-the-scenes, saw the female calf arrive at 1:48am on 11 January 2024, following a tricky breach birth, for 15-year-old mum, Keyah.
After a few attempts, keepers noticed that the calf was struggling to get to her feet, so stepped in quickly to get her standing, enabling her to tentatively walk to her mum to have her first feed.
Now at a week old, the calf is doing really well and has been given the African name Malaika, meaning ‘angel’.
Head Keeper of Ungulates, Lisa Watkins, said, “The team are absolutely over the moon with the safe arrival of a female white rhino calf. After a long wait, having had two male calves born in 2021, a female was a very welcome addition to the crash. Mum, Keyah, is doing a fantastic job of caring for the newborn with older brother Jumani eager to meet his little sister.
“I am really proud of the team for all their daily hard work and dedication, to allow this calf to arrive safe and healthy. We all look forward to showing the new arrival off in the near future, but for now, both mum and calf are spending some important time bonding in the warmth and comfort of their house.”
Malaika is the sixth baby white rhino to be born at the Park in the last eight years, marking another success for the Park’s involvement in a collaborative European breeding programme, conserving threatened species.
Katie McDonald, Research and Conservation Officer, said “Like all wildlife attractions, we believe it is extremely important for us to contribute to the conservation of the species we hold. White rhinos are one of the species for which there is a European-wide breeding programme and WMSP has been a strong contributor. This is the sixth white rhino calf born since 2016.”
She continued, “Having safe and healthy populations in zoos and parks is extremely valuable when the situation in the animal's natural habitat is precarious. White rhinos are threatened in the wild by poachers, who kill them so they can sell rhino horn on the black market.
“Through our amazing conservation partner, Save the Rhino International, we actively support rhino conservation by helping to fund anti-poaching activities in uMkhuze Game Reserve, South Africa, where dedicated ranger teams work every day to monitor and protect rhinos across the reserve.”
Southern white rhinos are classed as ‘near threatened’ by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), with around 16,000 remaining individuals.
The population of white rhinos has recovered greatly since almost becoming extinct in the early 1900s, but despite being somewhat of a conservation success story, they are the subspecies of rhinos most threatened by poaching.
Malaika will be kept in the warmth of the house while she settles in, then will slowly be introduced to the rest of the herd, including brother Jumani, half-brothers Granville and Jambo and dad, Barney.
She brings the number of white rhinos at the Park to nine, who can be seen on the safari drive-through, included in the admission charge, with the best prices booked online in advance. Children under the age of three are free.
Admission includes a Free Return to visit again within six months, only when booking online in advance.
Further information about West Midland Safari Park is available from the Park’s website www.wmsp.co.uk or by telephone 01299 402114. Find out more on the Safari Park’s official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/WestMidSafari.
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