Valentine Baby at Orana
Valentine Baby at Orana – 5 Day Old Rhino Calf Delighting Zoo Staff
After a mammoth 17 month gestation, white rhinoceros Tamu (12) gave Orana Wildlife Park staff a perfect ending to Valentine’s Day, delivering a 50kg calf at 11pm that night! All going to plan, the yet to be named youngster will make his first public appearance this Sunday.
Orana’s Head Keeper of Exotic Mammals, Rob Clifford, says: “our team is thrilled that Tamu has produced a healthy calf. We had been carefully monitoring her for the past month and it is pleasing that everything went smoothly. The calf is doing really well so much so that we plan to have him on display very soon. This little fellow will grow quickly – rhino calves can gain more than 2kg per day during their first few months due to the richness of the mother’s milk!”
Ungulate keepers Jenny Bowles and Nieka George have worked closely with Tamu throughout her pregnancy. Jenny says: “he is the cutest thing I have seen and already has so much personality! He jumps around trying to play with mum. The calf is very vocal, making lots of high pitch squeals ‘talking’ to Tamu, who is a fantastic mum and quickly checks out each noise. The baby is already filling out – it is quite amazing to see his growth even at this early stage.”
The calf is the third rhino born at Orana Wildlife Park, a noteworthy achievement considering the reproductive rate of captive born rhinos is very low in captivity. This is Tamu’s second calf. Male Cyrano sired all three calves but was sadly euthanased last May owing to renal failure. “Cyrano was a special rhino and made a fantastic contribution to the conservation of his species. His legacy lives on through this new calf” adds Jenny.
Southern White Rhinoceros were once on the brink of extinction but after years of protection they recovered significantly. The species is classified as Near Threatened and rhinoceros continue to face the ongoing and increasing threat of being illegally poached for their horn.
“We are excited that visitors will soon have the chance to meet the youngster and hope he will enthuse people to help conserve these amazing animals” concludes Jenny.
Staff will provide updates via the Park’s Facebook Page regarding the calf.
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