Dublin Zoo 'thrilled' at birth of southern white rhino calf

Members of the public have been invited to suggest names for the newborn

Dublin Zoo 'thrilled' at birth of southern white rhino calf

Image: Dublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo has announced the arrival of a new baby a southern white rhinoceros calf, weighing 60 kilos.

The male calf was born to mother Ashanti and father Chaka at 1.45pm last Thursday.

The youngster joins the rest of the herd – Sam, Reni, Zanta, Nyala and his parents – at the African Savanna section.

His arrival comes as part of Dublin Zoo’s European Endangered Species Programme, which was established to assist the survival of the under-threat animal.

An increase in poaching since 2008 has threatened the population of what was once the most common of all rhino species.

An estimated 20,000 southern white rhinos exist in the wild, the majority in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Kenya.

Their name derives from a mispronunciation of the Afrikaans word for "wide" and refers to their wide, flat mouth, which has adapted for grazing.

Southern white rhinoceros have poor eyesight but have acute senses of hearing and smell.

Children have been invited to suggest a name for the new arrival, based on his African origin, at www.dublinzoo.ie.

Helen Clarke-Bennet, team leader of the African Plains, said: "We are absolutely thrilled with the new arrival.

"Ashanti is an experienced mother and the birth was very relaxed.

"The mother and calf are bonding and will remain very close for the first year of his life."

Dublin Zoo is hosting a Rhino Awareness Week on September 24th and 25th to teach visitors about rhinos and the threats they face in the wild.