Meet our magnificent greater one-horned rhinoceroses, Beni and Asha.

They are pretty prehistoric-looking don't you think? With that thick, silver-brown hide, and folded skin, it looks almost riveted together, a bit like armour-plating.

Despite their bulky size rhinos can run at up to 25 miles an hour and are excellent swimmers.

We are proud to have such magnificent species in Chester and we want to make sure rhinos like these are around for future generations to see.

Our male Beni and our female Asha, who joined us in 2012 from Whipsnade Zoo, are valuable members of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme. It is a carefully managed scheme overseeing the breeding of zoo animals in different countries.

Not long ago there were less than 200 greater one-horned rhinoceros in the wild. They were hunted almost to extinction. Just in time steps were taken to protect them.

Now there are about 2,600, but they still face threats in India and Nepal. Poachers target them for their horns and a lot of land where they once lived has been taken over by farmers so it's important we do all we can to stop their numbers going down to critical levels again.

Read more

Interesting facts

Where they live: North-east India and southern Nepal

Habitat: Tall grasslands and adjacent swamps and riverine forests at the foothills of the Himalayan mountains

Length: up to 4m             Shoulder height: up to 1.8m

Weight: Up to 2.4 tonnes

Threats:  Historical hunting for sport. Illegal poaching for their horns. Habitat degradation and loss due to agricultural development

Scientific name: Rhinoceros unicornis