9 day old Rhino at Whipsnade

9 September 2010, 13:26 | Updated: 9 September 2010, 13:57

Whipsnade Zoo is celebrating the birth of its latest rhino calf, who was born at the end of August.

Ajang - which means 'enormous' in Nepalese - weighs 13 stone, despite being less than 3ft high. He's the largest calf to have been born at the zoo.

His mum, Behin, - who already has a three-year-old daughter called Asha - was in labour for three days. Staff at Whipsnade Zoo spent two nights sleeping in a store-room so they could watch the whole thing on CCTV.

Veronica Watkins - who works with the rhinos - said:

"It was a tough and exhausting labour for Behin, so it was a terrific relief to watch her deliver a healthy young calf who was up on his feet in a very short time. She is being a fantastic mum too."

Ajang - whose dad is 7-year-old Hugo - was walking within 20 minutes of being born.

Staff will now keep an eye on the mum and baby to decide how long they can stay together for. Although staff told Heart they'd love Ajang to stay at the zoo, it looks likely that he'll eventually be moved on somewhere else to be part of a breeding programme.


Siobhan Selwood-Brown