CHESTER Zoo is celebrating two new arrivals in just a matter of days.
Delighted keepers and staff have welcomed a new baby Rothschild giraffe and a baby black rhino – both critically endagered species – to the zoo in a matter of days.
The giraffe, which already stands 5ft 6in tall, was born to mum Dagmar following a 14-and-a-half month pregnancy on Monday, October 1, while nine-year old black rhino, Ema Elsa, gave birth to her as yet unnamed calf on Wednesday, October 3.
Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals at the Upton zoo, said: “Dagmar is a first-time mum but you’d never guess it. She has been doing brilliantly so far. She seems to be taking motherhood all in her, rather long, stride.
“The baby is strong and tall and she was on her feet really quickly and suckling from mum not long after.”
With only 670 Rothschild giraffes left in the wild the zoo matched Dagmar up with a bull giraffe, Thorn, using a similar format to a digital dating services.
The database contains information on gender, age, height and weight, as well as details of an animal’s personality.
Lizzie Bowen, senior giraffe keeper, said: “Dagmar was described as being rather playful and pretty and she has certainly lived up to that. She seemed to turn Thorn’s head pretty much straight away and this week we’ve seen the result with the birth of a beautiful, pure baby Rothschild giraffe.”
While the black rhino calf is only a matter of days old, it already plays a vital role in helping to sustain the world’s black rhino population which has been ravaged by poachers, with only 700 Eastern black rhinos left in the wild.
Keeper Helen Massey said: “Black rhino face a very real threat of extinction and so every birth is vital to ensure their survival.
“The zoo puts a heck of a lot of time, money and effort into trying to protect the species in the wild and we support a number of sanctuaries across Africa. However, as the demand for rhino horn intensifies, poaching is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.
“Our new arrival is only taking small steps at the moment, but eventually it will have a bigger role to play as part of a co-ordinated breeding programme.”