A FURNESS zoo received the perfect present when a rare rhino calf was born on Christmas Day.

The female calf is the second African White Rhinoceros to be born at South Lakes Safari Zoo, Dalton, in recent months, with a third rhino calf expected in 2017.

White rhinos have been an integral part of the conservation programmes at the Safari Zoo for almost two decades.


There are approximately 11,000 white rhinos in the wild.

Both mother Manzi, who is 16-years-old and a first-time mother, and the calf are doing well.

Head zookeeper Kim Banks said: “Manzi has really taken motherhood in her stride, she is very attentive. The calf is small and quite brave, she adventures away from her mother more than our previous calf. They are both doing really well.”

The birth is a milestone in a rhino conservation programme supported by the zoo’s founder David Gill.

Mr Gill said: “This was a fantastic and much-awaited event made all the more special that she arrived on Christmas Day. We have had a great year in terms of animals born here at the Safari Zoo in 2016 and this was the icing on the cake.

 “We are really proud of our record on white rhino births here at the Safari Zoo. These creatures were once on the brink of extinction and have never been so threatened as they are right now with poachers killing them for their horns.

“Our zoo, among many others around the globe, is helping conserve this wonderful species and we are so proud of our high level of success over the past 18 years.”

Miss Banks said: “It has been a fantastic year with the calves. Hopefully we can continue to have many more!”

White rhinos are also known as the square-lipped rhinoceros due to their square (not pointed) upper lip.

Their name comes from the Afrikaans word 'weit', which means wide and refers to the animal’s muzzle.

The newest member of the rhino pack is expected to be named in the next few days.

“We have a few suggestions, hopefully we’ll have a name for her in the next couple of days,” Miss Banks said. “We want to go for an African name, a name with a meaning behind it.”

To celebrate the new arrival the Safari Zoo offers a free entrance until February 11.