Thursday, 17 November 2011

New Rhino Birth, 'Indiana" born 17.11.11

17th November 2011 10.20am will go down as another important date in the history of the park when White Rhinoceros  Ntombi gave birth to a very rare, very special (and very cute) calf . 

Staff arrived at the park this morning and found her waters broke so have been waiting and watching on CCTV with baited breath.  The calf arrived at 10.20, named Indiana after Park owners young son and for everyone at the park it was one of the most amazing experiences to see this little calf born then watch mum give a loving lick then it was not long with a little encouragement from mum the calf made its first tentative, if not wobbly, steps.

Mum Ntombi arrived in the park from a private breeding reserve in South Africa in September 2003 and since then has been inseparable from 10 year old Male Mazungu.   It has been a long waiting game since pregnancy was confirmed in 2010 (after pregnancy testing) as the gestation period is between 15-16 months – but now the wait is over.

Park Director David S Gill beams – “This is another important birth in the whole history of the park, White Rhinos are such an Endangered species and this park prides itself in being at the forefront of conservation all over the world.    

“Very few establishments breed White Rhinos, we are being told there were only 6 births within Europe last year  and only 1 zoo in the UK.   Which makes it even more amazing to think we had 2 calves born in 2008 and now this latest arrival Indiana in Cumbria.

Visitors to the park this weekend will be able to view mum and baby --- Entrance from 1st November through until 10th February is free of charge.

Videos of the birth and photos are available of Indiana and we will permit camera crews to video mum and baby providing you contact us first - Karen 01229 466086

Pregnancy Test a Rhino:

In 2008 female white rhinos Ntombi and Tala gave birth to their first calves (Nyala & Zimba), in 2010 animal keepers had witnessed further successful rhino mating but then how do you get a 2 tonne rhino to “pee on a stick”?
Cue one very special biomedical science department with some very special testing equipment at an Austrian University.  Faecal samples (rhino pooh), and of course it had to be fresh, were collected from each of the females from mid April to the beginning of May. Clearly labelled in small plastic containers like that very famous pea advert the samples were “packed & frozen within 2 hours”.
In May a courier was sought who could deliver the samples to Vienna within 2 days, allowing the samples time to thaw but not be wasted, shipped off, fingers were kept crossed and in June we received the very happy news that Ntombi is pregnant expecting her second calf.
Based on mating records and a 15 month gestation period the pitter patter of tiny hooves was expected September/October 2011.
So now you know!

·         South Lakes Wild Animal Park is home to one of the most amazing herds of white rhino found in the UK.  With 2 calves born in 2008 the herd of 6 share their summer savannah with a herd of giraffes and troop of baboons - a truly wonderful sight.
·         On 1st June 2008 then  7 year old White Rhinoceros  Ntombi gave birth to her first,  very rare,  calf - Nyala .  BBC webcam viewers witnessed the birth firsthand and for Park Owner David Gill it was one of, if not the, most amazing experiences “Rhinos are my favourite animals here at the park – and to see this little calf born then watch first time mum give her a loving lick then it was not long with a little encouragement from mum the calf made her first tentative, if not wobbly, steps.”
·         The Park is home to 6 white rhinos,  Males Huubke and Mazungu; Tala and son Zimba born in 2008; Ntmobi daughter Nayala born 2008 and the latest addition Indiana. 
·         The Southern White Rhinos was one of the first kind of rhino to be at the brink of extinction in our life time.  At the start of the 20th Century there were perhaps only 30 surviving in the wild – thanks to careful conservation and International Breeding Programmes – like Ntombi and Mazungo are involved in, there are today around 11,500 in the wild  - but almost all of them live in one single country.

For more details contact the park on 01229 466086  

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