A rare endangered eastern black rhino has been born at Chester Zoo — and it was caught on video

It's a big step in the right direction for the survival of the species.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 22nd November 2023

It’s been a joyous week or so at Chester Zoo as the award-winning conservationists have welcomed a brand new eastern black rhino, “one of the world’s rarest mammals”, and even managed to catch the birth on camera.

Chester Zoo confirmed that one of their adult rhinos, Zuri, gave birth to a baby eastern black earlier this month and, in an even rarer turn of events, the zookeepers managed to catch the birth on camera in the middle of the day.

Noting that a daylight birth is “quite unusual”, the rhino team labelled the once-in-a-lifetime natural phenomenon “just the most incredible privilege”.

Yet to be named, the female calf is now just one of a handful of species left on the planet, with fewer than 600 eatsern black rhinos said to be living in the wild across Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. However, the baby’s birth will massively help efforts to prevent an endangered species from disappearing.

Having trooped on through her 15-month pregnancy, mum Zuri delivered her baby on a soft bed of sand around 2:45pm on Sunday, 12 November, as the zoo’s rangers watched on in amazement.


Rhino Team Manager, Emma Evison — who has been closely monitoring the two since the birth — said, “What’s most important now during these first few days is that mum Zuri and her new baby spend some time bonding and getting to know one another.

“So far, the pair have been inseparable and the little one is feeding regularly and already gaining in size and weight. She’s very inquisitive and full of energy, which is just brilliant to see.


You can see the quite incredible moment the baby eastern black rhino entered the world here (we’ll pre-warn that it’s not for the squeamish, mind you…):

Nature is absolutely amazing.

As Evison went on to explain, “Sadly this is a species that, for more than century, has been hunted down and poached for its horn before being sold on the illegal wildlife markets.

“This precious newborn’s arrival is another positive step in safeguarding the species, which is what the endangered species breeding programme in European conservation zoos that we’re a leading part of is striving to do. This programme has already showed huge success, with a group of rhinos bred in zoo’s in Europe having been translocated to a protected National Park in Africa.”


The illegal wildlife trade is the world’s fourth biggest international crime and, unfortunately, is the main driver in thousands of species disappearing from the wild, including the eastern black rhino.

The demand for rhino horn, stemming from the traditional Asian medicine market, has seen 95% Africa’s rhinos wiped out by poaching. However, the latest figures show that, for the first time in more than a decade, rhino numbers have increased slightly across Africa due to successful conservation efforts.

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The birth of this healthy calf can truly do wonders for the fate of this beautiful species and we couldn’t be more chuffed to see the Cheshire institution add another cutey to its collection whilst continuing to do their bit for wildlife conservation.

Mike Jordan, Director of Animals and Plants at the zoo, said: “Our efforts to protect this magnificent species extend far beyond the zoo’s boundaries and, while it’s incredibly positive news that conservation efforts across Africa have led to a small recovery in rhino numbers, giving them some much needed breathing space, we know there’s still lots of work to be to done…

“Zuri and her new arrival is testament to the unwavering dedication of conservationists here at Chester, and around the world, who are working to safeguard these incredible animals and ensure that they thrive long into the future.”


Chester Zoo is a truly wonderful place that’s magic never seems to wane on us no matter how many years go by. They’ve also got a very special festive but still animal-themed event on this Christmas that you don’t want to miss either.

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Featured Image — Chester Zoo