Keepers at Knowsley Safari Park are celebrating the birth of their second baby white rhino in just over a month.
The arrival of the as-yet-unnamed female follows hot on the heels of half-brother Troy who was born at the end of November.
The bouncing new baby and her 16-year-old mum Winnie are both doing well but will remain indoors for the moment because of the time of year. The proud father is 30-year-old Bud.
Knowsley chiefs say that as one of their other cows is heavily pregnant, a third rhino baby should make an appearance early in 2011.
General Manager, David Ross, commented: “Everyone here is delighted at the arrival of our second rhino calf in a matter of weeks.
“New Year babies don’t get much bigger than this – she’s a really strapping calf who will be more than a match for Troy who is just along the corridor from her in our giant-sized maternity unit.
“The great thing is that, as they’ve been born at pretty much the same time, they’ll be able to play together as they grow up.
“And if another calf is born successfully over the next couple of months the three big babies will be a fantastic attraction for visitors in what is our 40th anniversary year.”
Mr Ross also pointed out that Knowsley is now regarded as a European leader in terms of breeding this rare species.
The latest birth follows a mammoth gestation period which lasts from 485-515 days, around 16 months in the womb.
The white rhino – which is much larger than its black relative – is the second largest land mammal in the world after the elephant. They can live for 40 years and when fully grown can weigh up to three tonnes.
The name of the species does not derive from the colour of the animals – they’re actually grey – but from the Afrikaan word ‘wijd’ meaning wide which was misinterpreted as ‘white’by early settlers.
The word actually relates to the white rhinos’ wide, square mouths which are ideal for grazing. A less common name for the species is in fact the square-lipped rhinoceros.