We’re celebrating our latest arrival here at the zoo: an endangered greater one-horned rhino calf born to mum, Asha after a 16 month pregnancy!
The female calf was delivered by Asha on 14 October at 4:24pm and the birth was captured by the zoo’s cameras!
The new arrival has bonded closely with her mum and already sports the same slightly wrinkled armoured plating as her parents.
We asked YOU to vote for the perfect name on social media, and we’re delighted to reveal that she’s been called… Jiya!
The species was once found roaming across the entire northern part of the Indian subcontinent, but is now only present in a small area in India and Nepal. Listed as vulnerable to extinction on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN’s) Red List of threatened species, there are only around 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos estimated to be left in the wild as they battle illegal poaching for their horns and habitat loss.
Greater one-horned rhinos are pregnant for around 15 months, so conservationists at the zoo have patiently waited for the calf’s arrival.
“We’re absolutely thrilled with Asha and her new arrival. It’s been 4 years since a greater one-horned rhino calf was born here at Chester Zoo and they really are an incredible sight.”
Sam Harley, Rhino Team Manager
Sam continued to say:
“On the day the calf was born, we noticed that Asha was uncharacteristically lethargic and off her food so we had a suspicion that she was soon to give birth. We saw her water break at around 4:10pm as we watched on remotely via our hidden cameras, then at 4:24pm, she pushed her little one out into the world. It was a true privilege to witness such a special event.
“The sheer size of this species is incredible – the calf was born weighing 50kg and she’ll grow to around 1.7 tonnes. But despite their enormous stature, this species has a really soft side. Mum and calf have been so relaxed and calm, spending time side-by-side bonding together.”
John O’Hanlon, Laboratory Technician added:
“We’re the only zoo in the UK to have an onsite endocrinology lab, which allows us to track an animal’s hormones and even its pregnancy. Performing an ultrasound with an Indian rhino, and that amazingly thick skin isn’t easy, but by collecting and monitoring weekly samples of Asha’s dung, we’re able to track the pregnancy to see how mum and calf are doing.
“Our lab work doesn’t stop there, it also tells us things like when different species come into season and when the right time would be to pair them with a mate. We process hundreds of samples a day from zoos all around the UK and Europe, and working with partners in Kenya, we’re building on what we do here at Chester Zoo to support wild rhino populations. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you are contributing to preventing the extinction of so many precious species.”
We’re working with the Wildlife Trust of India to protect threatened species across the Greater Manas landscape in Assam in the north east of India. This includes Manas National Park, which is home to an important population of greater one-horned rhinos.
We’ve also previously supported the India Rhino Vision 2020, through Save the Rhino International, a conservation project which has seen the greater one-horned rhino population grow from just 200 to around 3,000 across India and Nepal.
Adopting a greater one-horned rhino at Chester Zoo will help fund vital conservation in the north-east of India PLUS you’ll receive an exclusive adoption pack and your name will be displayed on a ‘Thank you’ plaque outside our rhino habitat!
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