Video footage of a greater one-horned rhino calf being born has been released by Whipsnade Zoo to celebrate World Rhino Day (22 September). The 76kg calf, which keepers have named Bali (the Nepali word for strong) was born on the evening of 6 September after a 17-month gestation. The CCTV footage from inside the rhino pen shows 19-year-old mother Behan giving birth to her fourth calf at the zoo.
Bali is the 14th greater one-horned rhino calf to be born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, which was one of the first Zoos in the world to breed the species in 1957. ln the past 12 months there have been only four greater one-horned rhino births in three European zoos, with only one other in the United States of America.
Deputy Team Leader of Whipsnade Zoo, Veronica Watkins, said the keepers at the zoo were delighted with the new addition. "The whole team are very excited to see the safe arrival of our newest rhino. To be involved in bringing one of these endangered animals into the world makes all of our efforts feel worthwhile, and it makes celebrating World Rhino Day this year feel extra special," she said.
"The labour was relatively straightforward. Behan was restless the previous night so we suspected the birth was imminent, but once her waters broke we were able to monitor her carefully through CCTV cameras, without interfering in the process.
"The following day Bali was up and about, looking around at everything inquisitively. Behan, who has always been an excellent mother to her calves, was staying very close to him," added Watkins.
Greater one-horned rhinos, or Indian rhinos, are classified as Vulnerable by IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species, due to illegal poaching and a decline in quality of habitat. Native to India and Nepal, there are thought to be less than 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos left in the wild.