The female calf was safely delivered at Chester Zoo by new mum Ema Elsa following a 15-month-long pregnancy.
The birth was caught on the zoo’s CCTV cameras and shows the little one up on her feet and suckling from mum just 10 minutes later.
Now, the zoo has launched a poll on its Facebook page, inviting the public to help name the precious new arrival. Keepers have shortlisted the names Kasulu (a town in Tanzania), Koshi (meaning ‘to try’) and Kaari (meaning ‘young girl/young daughter’) for voters to choose from.
Conservationists at the zoo say the arrival of the calf – an eastern black rhino - will be ‘celebrated globally’ as fewer than 1000 now remain on the planet.
The population of eastern black rhinos in zoos across Europe is vital to the long-term future of the species, with several rhinos born as a result of the carefully coordinated breeding programme between European zoos having been introduced to Africa to boost wild populations.
Most recently, in June 2019, experts at Chester Zoo spearheaded the transportation of a group of eastern black rhinos from Europe to Akagera National Park, Rwanda.
Andrew McKenzie, Team Manager of rhinos at the zoo, said: “The birth of a critically endangered eastern black rhino is always very special. And to be able to watch on camera as a calf is born is an incredible privilege - with rhino numbers so, so low it, sadly, isn’t something that’s captured very often. Seeing the little one then get to her feet with a gentle nudge from mum; take her first tentative steps and suckle for the first time is then the icing on the cake. It really is heart-warming stuff.
“The whole team here is overjoyed. Mum and calf have bonded wonderfully and have been showing us all of the right signs. These rhinos have been pushed to the very edge of existence and every single addition to the European endangered species breeding programme is celebrated globally. It’s sadly no exaggeration to say that it’s entirely possible that we could lose them forever within our lifetime and the world’s most progressive zoos are very much part of the fight to prevent their extinction.”
To vote on the name, visit the zoo's Facebook page.