Dublin Zoo is delighted to announce the birth of a southern white rhinoceros calf. Experienced mum, Ashanti gave birth to the healthy male calf at 4.30am on February 10 after a 16-month gestation period. The calf is estimated to weigh approx. 50kg.
The youngster is Ashanti’s seventh calf and becomes the newest member of the seven-strong herd (also known as a crash) in the African Plains, including father Chaka.
Lucky visitors will be able to get a glimpse of mother and calf by looking through the window into the Rhinoceros House.
Dublin Zoo currently takes part in a European breeding programme for southern white rhinos. It is estimated that 18,000 of these animals exist in the wild and the majority are found in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Kenya. Poaching for rhino horn, incorrectly believed to have medicinal qualities, is the most significant threat to the wild population.
Dublin Zoo financially supports the conservation organisation Lowveld Rhino Trust in Zimbabwe, who is help protect rhinos from poachers, treats wounded and orphaned rhinos, monitors rhino populations and is involved with community outreach programmes.
Helen Clarke-Bennet, team leader of the African Plains said: “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome another rhinoceros calf to Dublin Zoo. These animals were on the verge of extinction in the 20th century.
"Ashanti is an excellent mother. She and the calf share a strong bond, and it has been wonderful to watch them play together. We’re looking forward to watching him integrate with the rest of the herd.”
Dublin Zoo, a not-for-profit organisation, is open seven days a week from 9.30am- 5pm in February and 9.30am- 6pm from March - September. For further information on Dublin Zoo visit www.facebook.com/dublinzoo, www.dublinzoo.ie.