Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 13:03 UK

Rare rhino joy for wildlife park

Calf and mother lying down after the birth
For the first hour the calf looks blue but later gains a pink colour to the skin

A rare white rhino calf has been born over the weekend at a wildlife park in South Cumbria.

Mother Ntombi gave birth on Sunday afternoon at South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton-in-Furness following a 16-month pregnancy.

The calf has not been named, as workers do not want to disturb mother and baby yet to check its gender.

The birth is extremely important as there are few breeding pairs in Europe, according to a park spokesman.

The park's other female rhino, Tala, is also due to give birth in August.

'Biggest birth'

Normally the keepers name the park's new arrivals, but because of the rarity of a rhino birth, park director and owner, David Gill, is expected to name the rhino later.

A spokesperson said: "This is the biggest and most important birth we have ever had at the park."

Park officials believe that there may have only been two white rhinos born across Europe this year.

According to global conservation organization WWF, there are only 14,538 white rhinos left in the world.




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Baby white rhino makes his debut
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