In Depth

Rare black rhino born at Chester Zoo in front of surprised onlookers

12-year-old Malindi stunned visitors as she went into labour around midday

A rare eastern black rhino has given birth to a healthy calf at Chester Zoo, delighting and astounding visitors who were there to witness the miracle of life.

Most rhino births “typically happen at night or in the early hours of the morning”, explains The Chester Chronicle.

But Malindi, a 12-year-old critically endangered eastern black rhino, shocked onlookers when she went into labour at around 12.30pm.

Chester Zoo's curator of mammals Tim Rowlands said: “Visitors to the zoo were treated to something incredibly special when eastern black rhino Malindi went into 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.”

“The newborn was delivered on to soft wood mulch and within next to no time it was up on its feet and running around - it couldn't have gone any smoother.”

The new arrival is especially welcome considering Eastern black rhinos are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature

The low wild number “is a result of the illegal wildlife trade, driven by the increasing demand for rhino horn, which supplies the traditional Asian medicine market where it is currently changing hands for more than gold and drugs”, says the Chronicle.

The zoo's collections director Mike Jordan told Sky News: “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 programme 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."

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