A black rhino is born, one of the rarest mammals in the world

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the black rhinoceros is one of the rarest mammals and is critically endangered.

The conservation status of one of the world’s two most exotic rhino species, the black rhino, is a matter of great concern.

Although they once lived in the wild and in many parts of Africa and Eurasia, their numbers have declined over the years to the point where they are now under control: the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) is seriously threatened.

Their population continues to decline dramatically due to habitat loss and poaching. These threats are largely caused by human activities.

Rhino horn is valued in some cultures for its supposed medicinal properties and as a status symbol, and illegal trade continues despite international bans.

In addition, agricultural expansion, infrastructure development and changes in land use have led to a significant decline in rhino habitat. Because they have less room to move, their populations become fragmented as they feed, reducing their genetic diversity and resilience.

Good news

Chester Zoo in England recently announced that Zuri, one of the zoo’s female eastern black rhinos, gave birth on November 12th – after 15 months of gestation. Thanks to the luck of their zookeepers, they were able to capture this moment on video.

His birth, a perfectly healthy, well-fed and curious calf – although not yet named – will help prevent the extinction of this critically endangered species.

This species is critically endangered in the wild. According to the World Wildlife Agency, fewer than 600 individuals have been found in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. This is sad news because many years ago the number of black rhinos in the wild reached tens of thousands.

The rhino was born at 2:45 p.m., allowing zookeepers to monitor the birth using cameras in the rhino habitat. It is a strange time for this animal’s birth, but it offers him the opportunity to become immortal.

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“We had been eagerly awaiting this birth for 15 long months and as it is quite unusual for rhinos to give birth during the day, we did not expect it to happen right before our eyes, in broad daylight,” Emma Evison, manager from the rhino team at Chester Zoo said in a press release.

Witnessing the birth of this calf before our eyes was the greatest privilege“. “Unfortunately, this species has been poached for its horns and sold in illegal markets for over a century.Evison said.

The arrival of this valuable mammal is another positive step in species conservation, which is the aim of the European program for the breeding of endangered species in zoos, in which we are the main actors“.

How many species of black rhinos are there?

The eastern black rhinoceros is one of five subspecies of black rhinoceros (some of which are now extinct due to poaching and habitat loss). It comes from East Africa and, as already mentioned, is mainly found in Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.

It differs greatly from other subspecies of black rhinoceros in that it has a long, pointed and prehensile upper lip, which it uses to grasp leaves and twigs when foraging. Despite its name, it is actually not black, but dark gray. The term “black” was introduced to distinguish it from the white rhinoceros, which is also not white but light gray.

September 22nd is World Rhinoceros Day

In September 2023, the Kenyan government announced a new plan to protect black rhinos, which included expanding wildlife reserves and relocating some individuals to ensure genetic diversity “so as not to lose a single rhino.” Kenya’s program runs until 2026 and aims to sustain the species’ growth and reduce its mortality.

Zookeepers film the birth as an endangered black rhino calf is welcomed into the world. Chester Zoo UK Press Release 2023

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