The miracle life and wildlife came together at England’s Chester Zoo.
According to the zoo, rhinos usually give birth at night, but Malindi, a critically endangered eastern black rhino, didn’t feel like following the rules. The 12-year-old mom went in to labor in the middle of the afternoon in front of a group of stunned onlookers.
Thirty minutes later, Malindi was the proud parent to healthy baby boy. The rhino calf was on his feet less than 15 minutes after being born — an exciting and unexpected show for zoo guests.
“Visitors to the zoo were treated to something incredibly special when Eastern black rhino, Malindi, went in to labour in front of them. With just 650 Eastern black rhino left in the wild, seeing the birth of a new calf and its very first steps is a very rare and special event indeed,” Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals at Chester Zoo, said in a statement.
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After a smooth and rather public birth, mom and son are bonding well, with the calf nursing from his mom regularly.
“This new arrival is a real boost to a critically endangered species. It increases the number of Eastern black rhino at Chester to 11 and is another vitally important success story in a Europe-wide breeding program for these highly threatened animals. A thriving, healthy population of this high-profile species in good zoos is vitally important to the future of this species and a key component of our mission to prevent their extinction,” Mike Jordan, collections director at Chester Zoo, said.
Eastern black rhino numbers are dangerously low due to poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, which kills the critically endangered animals for their horns.