Cotswold Wildlife Park is celebrating the birth of a white rhino calf. The newborn male, named Alan, is the fourth white rhino to be born at the park since opening in 1970.
Alan, named after the park’s electrician who retires this year, was born to parents Ruby and Monty and is the second calf for the breeding pair after Astrid, who was born in 2013.
The new arrival, who weighed in at an impressive eleven stone at just one week old, is proving to be a high-spirited and boisterous youngster. Ruby continues to impress keepers with her skills as an exceptional and protective mother.
Managing Director of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Reggie Heyworth, said: “Everyone is over-joyed about the birth of another rhino calf to Ruby, who is being such a good mother, for the second time. The calf looks like a strong lad already, and the rest of the rhino “crash” seem to be taking his arrival in their stride. With rhinos facing such poaching pressures in the wild, every birth in captivity is a sign of hope for this wonderful species”.
The white rhino was once the rarest subspecies of any rhino and on the verge of extinction. But thanks to excellent and sustained protection, they are now the most common of the five rhino species and living proof of conservation success. However, poaching for their horns remains the biggest threat to these iconic animals.
Female rhinos only reproduce every two-and-a-half to five years, with a gestation period of sixteen to eighteen months resulting in a single calf born. This is one of the longest gestation periods of any land mammal, with the elephant exceeding this at twenty-two months gestation.
A newborn rhino calf will stand up within one hour of birth and immediately attempt to suckle. It will remain under the watchful eye of its mother for at least two years, benefiting from her protection. Females guard their offspring aggressively and are intimidating adversaries if challenged.