We are delighted to announce the exciting news that after a whopping pregnancy of 16 months, white rhino Emily has successfully given birth.
Emily's keepers had been anticipating the birth which generally takes place at night for some time. However, Emily had other ideas deciding to give birth on Friday 3rd February at around 1.30pm. Ideally Emily would have given birth in her stall, but she was quite comfortable and happy outside in the paddock with her neighbours including giraffe, zebra, kudu and ostrich to give birth out in the open with many excited onlookers having the privilege of witnessing the birth as well.
To ensure the safety of all the animals including mum and baby, keepers brought all the other animals inside. This then allowed them to monitor Emily and her newborn closely although Emily was very calm and relaxed. Keepers tried to encourage Emily and baby inside into a warm and quiet environment but Emily was quite happy outside and had no intention of going in. However, her keepers became concerned that baby's temperature was dropping and that they needed to get them inside urgently. As her keepers know Emily very well they took the decision to intervene. Curator, Sarah Forsyth, entered the paddock to encourage baby inside and to lend a helping hand knowing that Emily would soon follow. Although this may have looked concerning to onlookers the keepers had the situation fully under control and knew Sarah's escape routes if an emergency exit was required. As they hoped, Emily was perfectly happy for Sarah to help and they were able to bring both inside in the warm.
Emily conceived naturally after breeding with Otto, our male rhino who has since temporarily moved to another zoo to hopefully breed and assist the population of the white rhino which unfortunately continue to face an ever-growing poaching crisis.
Emily joined us here at Colchester Zoo in September 2003 and in April 2013 she successfully gave birth to her first calf, a female named Pembe who is also fathered by Otto. Emily has been an excellent first-time mother and has cared for Pembe over the last 3 years as she continues to mature into adulthood and we’re sure Emily will do just as good a job second time round! Emily’s new-born has a playmate still as our young male calf Mabaso remains with us here at Colchester Zoo.
Check out this great video, captured by the keepers of Emily's calf moving inside her:
The white rhino is the largest of the five rhinoceros species and one of the world’s biggest land animals, it is also considered to be one of the most sociable of the rhino species.
Breeding occurs throughout the year and the young calves are very active soon after birth, as we have seen in all 3 of our young calves Zamba, Pembe and Mabaso over the years!
Keep up to date on Emily and baby news on our website and social media!
Colchester Zoo’s charity Action for the Wild also supports Save the Rhino International and their Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in South Africa which monitors and protects both black and white rhino.
You can find out more about their work and how you can help here.