Two incredibly rare Eastern black rhino calves have been born within days at England’s Chester Zoo, boosting global numbers of the critically endangered species.
Both calves were delivered safely onto soft sand following pregnancies lasting around 15 months. The first adorable wobbly steps of the first calf have been captured on video by zookeepers.
The first baby rhino was born to mum Kitani, aged 20 on June 19, with the second arriving to 10-year-old Zuri on June 26.
“The new arrivals take the number of Eastern black rhino at the zoo to 10 and mark important success stories in an acclaimed breeding program for the highly threatened species,” said a spokesman at the zoo.
It is believed less than 650 now remain across Africa and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the animals as critically endangered in the wild.
Tim Rowlands, Curator of Mammals at the zoo, said: “Eastern black rhinos are one of the world’s most high profile species, teetering on the brink of extinction in the wild. We cannot underestimate how important these animals are to the future of their species.”
Rowlands said Kitani has bonded well with her calf during the important early days and is doing a very good job so far, as is Zuri who is also an experienced mum.