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Adorable white rhino calf born at Colchester Zoo

PUBLISHED: 18:59 19 October 2020 | UPDATED: 18:59 19 October 2020

Astrid the white rhino has given birth to her first calf at Colchester Zoo. Picture: COLCHESTER ZOO

Astrid the white rhino has given birth to her first calf at Colchester Zoo. Picture: COLCHESTER ZOO

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A white rhino has given birth to her first calf at Colchester Zoo, bringing the total number born there to six.

This is the sixth white rhino calf to be born at Colchester Zoo. Picture: COLCHESTER ZOOThis is the sixth white rhino calf to be born at Colchester Zoo. Picture: COLCHESTER ZOO

Astrid was brought to the Essex zoo in 2016 and had been carrying her male calf for 16 months before the birth on October 14.

Born in 2013, the first-time mum managed to make it through the entire birth without any help from the Animal Care Team, who had been monitoring her for the past two weeks.

The birth happened late in the evening long after visitors had left and within one hour the newborn was able to stand up and suckle from his mum – already showing a mischievous character.

The little one won’t be named for a while - but supporters of the zoo will get the chance to vote on their favourite name in a fundraising competition in the near future.

Astrid the white rhino has given birth to her first calf at Colchester Zoo. Picture: COLCHESTER ZOOAstrid the white rhino has given birth to her first calf at Colchester Zoo. Picture: COLCHESTER ZOO

Several names will be put forward and the one which raises the most cash for the Colchester Zoo Operating Fund will win.

A spokesman for the zoo said: “This wonderful news has come at a very important time whilst Colchester Zoo has been negatively affected by the pandemic and the recent loss of Lioness, Malika.

“To have such lovely news gives a great boost of morale to the team and shows how important zoos are to the conservation of the animal kingdom.”

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MORE: Colchester Zoo mourns the death of lioness Malika

Emily, another white rhino at the zoo, also gave birth to a female calf - Lottie - 10 months ago.

Both calves share the same father, white rhino Otto, and will provide each other with playmates.

Astrid and her calf will be staying inside during the early days of his life, away from the visitors where they can be safely monitored.

Once he is old and big enough, the new arrival will be allowed to head outside to the mixed paddock and meet his new neighbours and the other rhinos in his crash; Otto, Emily, Binta and Lottie.

Staff at the zoo were always sure Astrid was going to be a fantastic mum after showing signs of mothering Lottie after she became pregnant in late 2019.

The birth is brilliant news for the conservation of white rhinos, as they are listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List due to poaching and the ivory trade.

Other youngsters born at the zoo have since moved on in the hope of joining a successful breeding programme elsewhere.

MORE: BBC show documents life behind the scenes at Colchester Zoo during lockdown


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