By Douglas Whitbread via SWNS
Adorable footage shows a week-old baby rhino charging around her shelter after her sudden arrival stunned zoo keepers.
The unnamed southern white rhino calf, which already weighs 140 pounds, was born at Knowsley Safari in the UK, after her mom Meru had a “calm and relaxed" labor.
But the birth of the cheerful little animal “surprised” staff, who believed Meru’s pregnancy had “not progressed” after she passed her due date.
The species of rhino, which is native to southern regions of Africa, is among the International Union for Conservation of Nature's red list of “near threatened” animals.
And sadly due to poaching, there are only around 16,000 left in the wild today.
The cute calf, who was born on October 23 at the zoo near Prescot, UK, spent the first few days nestled with her mom inside her dedicated rhino house.
But it’s expected that visitors will soon get to glimpse her when she’s let out into her dedicated enclosure.
Knowsley Safari’s Animal Operations Manager Chris Smart said: "This is yet another very exciting step forward in the conservation of this species and we are over the moon to welcome our 22nd southern white rhino calf to be born here.
“As a very experienced mother, Meru has quickly adapted to being a mom again, and her calf is already up and about.
“Each day that passes, she becomes a little more active and is already running around– she’s certainly very curious and confident.
“Her arrival was unexpected until very recently. Despite previously confirming the pregnancy, Meru’s due date past so we assumed she was no longer was.
“We didn’t see any signs of pregnancy until just a few weeks before calving, when she was in its latter stages.
“The keepers were keeping a very close eye on her and spotted the signs of the impending birth last weekend and prepared the rhino house with a deep layer of straw to help the calf to stand – which typically happens just an hour later.
“It was such a happy turn of events. The whole team here is absolutely delighted. Mom and calf have bonded wonderfully and have been showing us all of the right signs.
“Numbers of these rhinos have been so low and every single addition to the EAZA Ex-situ breeding program is celebrated."
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