A critically endangered black rhino has given birth to a calf - the first of its species to be born in Wales.
After a 15-month pregnancy, Eastern black rhino Dakima gave birth to a healthy male calf on 16th January.
Dakima is an eastern black rhino which is one of the rarest animals in the world. This new calf is one of only an estimated 40 eastern black rhinos to be born in the UK in the past 20 years.
Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo confirmed Dakima was pregnant in June last year. The gestation period for a black rhino is estimated to be between 15-16 months.
- This the moment Dakima gave birth:
Born just ten minutes after the mum’s waters broke, the calf made its appearance at 4:37am and within a couple of hours was standing up, following Dakima around the enclosure and suckling from its mum.
Watch the video of the baby calf finding its feet in the enclosure:
Folly Farm zoo curator, Tim Morphew, said: “We couldn’t be happier to welcome our new arrival - Dakima has taken to motherhood like a duck to water. She’s being very protective of the baby which is great because it shows they have a strong bond.
“This is the most important baby ever to be born at Folly Farm and is such a monumental event for all the staff here. Ever since the breeding pair arrived in 2017, we’ve worked hard to create an environment where they’ve felt comfortable to mate.
“Not only is this calf helping to increase numbers of a critically endangered species, he’s also the first rhino ever to be born in Wales.”
It is thought that the calf weighs between a healthy 30-45 kg. Folly Farm’s rhino keepers will monitor mum and baby closely over the coming weeks and will be back out in the enclosure in due course.
Along with other zoos across Europe, Folly Farm is part of a breeding programme to help increase the numbers of Eastern black rhino in captivity and, ultimately, the wild.
The zoo said it is a possibility the baby could one day be released into the wild to help boost population numbers - or move to another zoo to continue the breeding programme.
Tim added, “For us, the next steps are just to keep an eye on Dakima and make sure the baby stays healthy and gets everything he needs from mum. Our goal is always to interfere as little as possible and let nature take its course.
“Nkosi will be a bit of an absent father, but that’s perfectly normal as male rhinos don’t have anything to do with their offspring in the wild so it’s unlikely we’ll introduce him to the baby – his job is done."
There are thought to be fewer than 650 Eastern black rhinos left in the wild - and just eight in zoos across Europe.
The zoo said they will be holding a public vote on the name after shortlisting its favourites.