West Midland Safari Park is celebrating the birth of its fourth southern white rhino in five years.
Third-time-mum, Ailsa, gave birth to the male rhino calf during the early hours of 24th May, following a pregnancy of 16 months.
Under the watchful eye of eleven-year-old mum, the little one was given a brief health check by his keepers who were able to confirm he already weighed in at 74 kilograms (11 and a half stone) and was doing very well.
The baby boy is another triumph as part of the park’s breeding programme for white rhino. Two-and-a-half-year-old male, Granville, who was born in 2018, was the last white rhino born at the park.
Head of Wildlife, Angela Potter, said, “With each rhino birth we have here at the park, it’s a fantastic achievement for the European Endangered Species programme. All five species of rhino are decreasing in numbers, and we hope that this birth can continue in helping to bring more attention to the plight of rhino species in the wild.”
White rhinos are the larger of the two African rhino species; they are fairly social animals and live in loose groups in the wild of up to six animals. With wild rhinos continually facing a threat of poaching and habitat loss, the park are committed to continuing their breeding programme, which works to create a reserve population of these magnificent animals who are listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red List. At the last count, just over 20,000 wild southern white rhinos remained in South Africa.
The youngster has already made his first tentative steps into his paddock and joins his brother, Granville, on the Safari Drive-through.
The new birth now brings the ‘crash’ of southern white rhino at the Safari up to seven. This includes the new arrival’s father, fifteen-year-old Barney, who himself was born at the park in 2005. The ‘crash’ of rhinos can be seen on the four-mile Safari Drive-through, which is included as part of the standard admission charge of £25.00 for adults, £20.00 for children aged 3-15 and £22.00 for concessions. Children under the age of three are free of charge. Admission includes a Free Return Visit when booking online only. Adventure Theme Park rides are charged extra.