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Last Updated: Monday, 11 February 2008, 19:57 GMT
New-born rhino named Kofi Annan
A black rhinoceros and her calf born Dec 2007 at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Nanyukii, Kenya
Black rhinos were nearly wiped out by poachers in the 1970s and 80s
A new-born rhinoceros in Kenya has been named Kofi Annan in honour of the former UN Secretary General.

Baby Kofi was born at the weekend in the community-owned Ol Choro Oirogua Conservancy in the Maasai Mara reserve.

Mr Annan is trying to mediate between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, who disputed the results of elections in December.

Kofi's birth comes three months after a new strategy was announced to increase the numbers of endangered rhinos.

Rangers did not say there were any obvious comparisons between Mr Annan and the horned beast, but some have suggested he will need a thick skin to push forward difficult negotiations between Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga.

"Thick-skinned Kofi Annan is likely to spend years in the wild," the United Nations said in a statement.

The new strategy to save endangered black rhino seeks to raise numbers from the current 540 to 700 by the year 2011.

Black rhino suffered a catastrophic decline across Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. Numbers plummeted from an estimated 65,000 in 1970 to fewer than 2,500 by 1992.

Despite the devastating effects of poaching in the 1970s and 80s, Kenya now has the third largest population of the species after South Africa and Namibia.

A number of white rhinos have also been imported to Kenya from southern Africa to boost rhino numbers generally.

But with the continued threat of habitat destruction, the future of the black rhino is far from guaranteed.



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