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Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 12:22 GMT
Zoo happy over rhino baby
Baby white rhino and mother at Whipsnade Zoo
Mkumi is the mother of the zoo's 50th baby rhino
A Bedfordshire zoo says the birth of a white rhino shows the success of its breeding programme.

The 120-kilo baby, a female who has yet to be named, was born at the zoo to 3,000-kilo mother Mkumi and is doing well in the Rhino House.

The baby is the 50th rhino to be born at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park in the past three decades.

"She has huge ears, her skin doesn't fit properly and her feet are too big, but she is lovely," said zoo spokeswoman Julianne Mallatratt.

They tire themselves out and go to sleep to recoup their energy and then run around again

Julianne Mallatratt Whipsnade Zoo

"She skips about like mad in a burst of energy around her mum."

The rhino is the second to be born at the zoo this month.

The two babies are staying inside the Rhino House where they will be suckled by their mothers for the next few months.

"They tire themselves out and go to sleep to recoup their energy and then run around again," Ms Mallatratt said.

The newly-born rhinos do not need any special attention, and the zookeepers just "leave them to themselves and let them get on with it," she said.

Tigers and wolves

The current herd of 13 rhinos at the zoo has eight adults and five offspring.

The zoo near Dunstable in Buckinghamshire has 250 different species of animals, including tigers, sea lions, wolves, brown bears, tortoises, giraffes, cheetahs, dwarf crocodiles and lemurs, macaws, and reindeer.

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