The largest zoo in the UK welcomed an adorable new addition when a new Southern white rhino calf was born before sunrise Aug. 21. Zookeepers were “delighted.”
After Southern white rhino mom Tuli’s 16-month pregnancy, staff at the Zoological Society of London’s Whipsnade Zoo monitored her stool, checking hormone levels as they were expecting a new baby within a couple of days.
It was 4 a.m. on a Saturday when 14-year-old Tuli gave birth to her healthy female calf in an indoor part of the enclosure that had been reserved for her use. The baby was named Nandi by zookeepers, which means “Sweet One” in Zulu. She joins her mom and dad, Sizzle, as part of the zoo’s herd (also called a “crash”) consisting of eight Southern white rhinos.
(Courtesy of ZSL Whipsnade Zoo)
“We are overjoyed to be welcoming such a precious addition to our ‘crash’ of Southern white rhinos at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo,” team leader Mark Holden said in a statement.
“Southern white rhinos are born with over-sized, rubbery feet, which they have to ‘grow into’, so Nandi is understandably wobbly when she walks. Rhino calves spend most of their first week or two resting and drinking milk, but over the next few weeks she’ll grow, and as she does, she’ll get more playful, and confident in exploring her huge enclosure here.
“Tuli is very protective right now, so we’re letting them rest away from the group and out of sight of visitors, but in a few days they’ll both start to feel more confident about Nandi venturing out and getting to know the rest of the herd.”
Southern white rhinos are the second-largest land mammal in the world, the ZSL stated. Listed as Near Threatened, there are approximately 10,000 mature specimens in the wild, according to the IUCN Red List for Threatened Species. They face threats from poaching, habitat loss, and invasive species.
More baby photos of Whipsnade Zoo’s latest addition to their Southern white rhino herd: