The Merseyside park has welcomed a (big) baby this winter, the sixth calf born to 21-year-old white rhino Meru. At one week old, the not-so-small newborn weighs a whopping 7 stone and a Facebook competition will be launching soon to name her.
The latest calf is the 11th to be born at Knowsley Safari in the last decade as part of their extensive breeding programme which is managed in association with the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria’s (EAZA) European Endangered Species Programme (EEP). Knowsley Safari is particularly excited about this birth as it will bring much needed diversity to the captive gene pool and will ultimately help to bolster the captive rhino population.
“We’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the calf for 16 months," says John Moss, Rhino Keeper at Knowsley Safari. "We’re really enjoying monitoring her as she explores and interacts with the new surroundings, she’s already so mischievous as she runs around her mum, copying her mannerisms.”
White rhinos are one of the most hunted animals in the wild and according to 2010 figures from IUCN there are only 20,107 left in the wild.
A total of 1,215 white rhinos were killed in 2014. As part of their conservation work, Knowsley Safari have helped to fund the important work done by the Lowveld Rhino Trust (LRT) with £30,000 donated so far via direct sponsorship from the Derby family, visitor donations and fundraising activities. The LRT are a conservation organisation, operating primarily in Zimbabwe to help reduce poaching and increase the chances of the long term survival of rhinos, one of Africa’s ‘big five’ wild animals.
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