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article imageRare white rhinoceros birth at Spanish natural park

By Anne Sewell     Oct 3, 2013 in World
Penagos - A rare birth in captivity in a Spanish natural park has brought a baby white rhinoceros into the world. The calf is of the southern subspecies of the white rhinoceros and mother and baby are doing well.
On September 19, the male calf was born to first-time mother Zola after a 16-month 14-day pregnancy, at the Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno in Cantabria, Spain. The only animal who has a longer gestation period apparently is the elephant.
It is the first birth in the natural park for 16 years, as breeding in captivity is extremely difficult.
As is normal with young rhinos, his birth weight was 50kg (110 lb) and he started walking within about 15 minutes, park officials said.
According to Antena3 (Spanish language) mother and son are now housed in a separate enclosure, away from the other rhinos in the park, including the calf's 27-year-old father Sagan. This is because the other female, Nora, who lives with them in the meadow, has become quite nervous and daily management of the animals has become more difficult for caregivers.
According to ABC (in Spanish) Cabárceno has one of Europe's largest venues for rhinos, consisting of a three-acre meadow where they can run and move easily. White rhino (ceratotherium simum) is the largest of the five species of rhinoceros that exist today and can reach 4.2 meters in length, 1.85 meters high and weigh 2,500 kilos. Their meadow is similar to the photo below:
Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno (natural park) in Cantabria  Spain.
Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno (natural park) in Cantabria, Spain.
According to Wikipedia, the park is neither a conventional zoo nor a natural park (parque natural) in the normal Spanish sense of the term. It is a naturalized space reclaimed from 750 hectares (1,900 acres) of a former open pit mine and transformed into the primitive beauty of the landscape.
The park has told the Local that the baby rhino, who has not yet been named, can now be viewed by visitors.
Female rhinos only give birth every four or five years and are very difficult to breed in captivity. The southern white rhinoceros were on the verge of extinction 100 years ago. However a strong population rebound has meant there were 17,460 white rhinoceros in the wild in 2007.
The much rarer northern white rhinoceros has very few remaining, with seven confirmed individuals left and only four still able to reproduce (Including those in captivity).
Teinteresa (Spanish language) has an extremely cute image of mother and son.
Video: Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno in Cantabria
More about Spain, white rhinoceros, White rhino, parque de la naturaleza de cabarceno, cabarceno natural park
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