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Incredibly rare newborn black rhino plays with mum for first time

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A zoo that welcomed the rare birth of a black rhino last week has shared adorable footage of the calf’s first ‘sparring match’ with his mum.

There are just 5,000 of the critically endangered animals left in the wild and around 50 in accredited zoos worldwide, so the birth on Christmas Eve was cause for celebration.

Zookeepers were delighted when they caught the newborn playfully rubbing his nose against his mother Doppsee’s horn on CCTV just a few days later.

Potter Park Zoo in the US state of Michigan shared a clip of the moment online and said: ‘Sparring with horns is a natural rhino behaviour and this little guy’s first training session with mum is downright adorable.’

The calf, which has not yet been named, was the first black rhino to be born at the zoo in its 100-year history.

The baby is one of just 5,000 of his kind in the world (Picture: Kaiti..

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To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5
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A zoo that welcomed the rare birth of a black rhino last week has shared adorable footage of the calf’s first ‘sparring match’ with his mum.

There are just 5,000 of the critically endangered animals left in the wild and around 50 in accredited zoos worldwide, so the birth on Christmas Eve was cause for celebration.


Zookeepers were delighted when they caught the newborn playfully rubbing his nose against his mother Doppsee’s horn on CCTV just a few days later.

Potter Park Zoo in the US state of Michigan shared a clip of the moment online and said: ‘Sparring with horns is a natural rhino behaviour and this little guy’s first training session with mum is downright adorable.’

The calf, which has not yet been named, was the first black rhino to be born at the zoo in its 100-year history.

A male black rhino calf, which has not been named, looks on after its birth at the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., December 24, 2019, in this image courtesy of Potter Park Zoo. Picture taken December 24, 2019. Kaiti Chritz/Potter Park Zoo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
The baby is one of just 5,000 of his kind in the world (Picture: Kaiti Chritz/Potter Park Zoo/via REUTERS)
Prepare youself for some serious cuteness... this little boy is making history as the first black rhino calf born at Potter Park Zoo
The ‘downright adorable’ newborn is healthy and doing well, vets say (Picture: Potter Park Zoo)
A male black rhino calf, which has not been named, is seen with his mother, Doppsee after its birth at the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., December 25, 2019, in this image courtesy of Potter Park Zoo. Picture taken December 25, 2019. Kaiti Chritz/Potter Park Zoo/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
Vets watched Doppsee carefully as it was her first pregnancy (Picture: Kaiti Chritz/Potter Park Zoo/via REUTERS)

Pat Fountain, an animal care supervisor at Potter Park, said the birth was one of the zoo’s ‘crowning achievements’ because the species is ‘statistically and historically very hard to breed and be successful’.

Getting Doppsee to breed with the calf’s father, Phineus, when he visited in 2017 was a ‘milestone’, Mr Fountain added.

The calf managed to stand up about an hour after birth and is said to be bonding well with his mum.

The zoo’s vet, Dr Ronan Eustace, said: ‘As this is Doppsee’s first pregnancy, the animal care and veterinary staff will continue to monitor Doppsee and her calf closely in the next few weeks.

‘But so far, the rhino calf appears healthy and we have observed frequent nursing shortly after the birth, which is encouraging.’

EMBARGOED TO 0001 THURSDAY DECEMBER 26 Undated handout photo issued by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) of a black rhino being transported to Malawi. Counter-poaching troops from the 2nd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles have recently returned home from a 3-month counter-poaching deployment where they assisted African Parks with the relocation of critically Endangered Black Rhinos from South Africa to Malawi. PA Photo. Issue date: Thursday December 26, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Rhinos. Photo credit should read: Kyle de Nobrega/African Parks /PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
The critically endangered species faces extinction from illegal poaching and loss of habitat (Picture: Kyle de Nobrega/African Parks/PA)

Footage of Doppsee’s delivery and the calf’s first steps, which came around an hour and a half after he was born, were also posted online by zoo staff.

A few days after the calf’s birth the world’s oldest black rhino, Fausta, died aged 57.

The female rhino lived in the wild for all but the last three years of her life when she was taken into a sanctuary in Tanzania after being attacked by hyenas.

Officials said she lived longer than any rhino in the world and most likely died of natural causes on December 27.

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