Stella is the newest addition to the Rhino family at Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens. She is Monty and Ruby’s first female calf and only the second female calf born in the Park’s history. The newborn is healthy and nursing well from Ruby who is proving, once again, to be an exceptional mother.
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In just fifteen minutes, the sixteen month pregnancy was over, and a new baby was welcomed into the family-run Burford Collection. Keepers also filmed Stella tentatively taking her first steps.
Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jamie Craig, said, “It is particularly satisfying that Ruby has produced a female calf; they are vital for the development of the breeding program, and Stella will eventually move to another collection to hopefully become a successful mother herself.”
Monty and Ruby are both fifteen years old. In 2009, Ruby (along with another female called Nancy) made the eleven thousand kilometre journey from Mafunyane Game Farm in South Africa to the UK to join young male Monty at their new Oxfordshire home.
It was hoped that, one day, they would successfully produce the Park’s first ever rhino calf. Four years later, Nancy gave birth to a female named Astrid. Stella is only the second female calf born in the Park’s history.
Females only reproduce every two-and-a-half to five years, so the window of opportunity for successful reproduction is limited. After a gestation period of sixteen to eighteen months a single calf is born. A newborn calf will stand up within one hour of birth and immediately attempt to suckle, although may be a little unsteady on her feet for the first few days.
She will remain under the watchful eye of her mother, suckling from her for approximately one year. Their bond is an intensely strong one and the calf will remain with her mother for at least two years, benefiting from her protection. Females guard their offspring aggressively and are intimidating adversaries if challenged.
Visitors can see the new calf daily from 10am in the solar powered Rhino House or the large rhino paddock overlooking the Manor House.
Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens
Burford, Oxfordshire, OX18 4JP
Tel: 07787 133837