Video: Watch adorable baby rhino born at West Midlands Safari Park taking first steps

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Watch as an adorable baby rhino - born at a UK safari park - takes its first wobbly steps

This is the amazing moment the birth of a baby rhino was captured on CCTV cameras at West Midlands Safari Park. Zookeepers were left thrilled after they watched the arrival of the southern white rhino live from behind-the-scenes at the tourist attraction last Thursday (January 11).

However, staff were forced to step in following a tricky breach birth for 15-year-old mum Keyah after noticing the calf struggling to stand. After keepers helped the newborn to its feet, she was able to tentatively walk over to her mum to have her first feed.

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CCTV cameras captured the baby rhino's first wobbly steps and being gently nestled by his mum. A week on she is said to be doing "really well". The calf has been given the African name Malaika, meaning ‘angel’, and will join eight other rhinos at the attraction in Bewdley, Worcestershire.

Lisa Watkins, head keeper of ungulates, 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.”

Baby southern white rhino Malaika.Baby southern white rhino Malaika.
Baby southern white rhino Malaika.

Malaika's arrival at 1.48am last Thursday makes her the sixth baby white rhino to be born at the attraction in the last eight years. The park is part of a European breeding programme aimed at protecting the species classed as ‘near threatened’ by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).

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Around 16,000 individuals remain in the wild in Kenya, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The population of white rhinos has recovered greatly since almost becoming extinct in the early 1900s, but are still the subspecies of rhinos most threatened by poaching.

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.

“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.

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“Through our amazing conservation partner, Save the Rhino International, we actively support rhino conservation by helping to fund anti-poaching activities in Mkhuze Game Reserve, South Africa, where dedicated ranger teams work every day to monitor and protect rhinos across the reserve.”

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.

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