We are delighted, proud and enormously grateful to be able to announce the birth of a new baby black rhino at Imire. A perfect, healthy female calf was born to our youngest female rhino, Shanu, at 3:35am this morning, the 27th November 2014 – the best Thanksgiving Day arrival. This calf is the first rhino born on Imire since our tragic poaching incident in 2007. Shanu is doing very well, considering her long 15 month pregnancy and early-morning birth of her first calf.
Shanu and the other rhinos were put into their night pens as normal yesterday at around 6:00pm. At 3.25am night guard Jonah saw Shanu’s waters break and two legs begin to emerge. He called our Senior Rhino Handler, Ganizani from the nearby staff houses and by the time they rushed back at 3.35am, the baby had been born! Shanu cleaned her baby and the calf stood up not long after. An exhausted Shanu was granted no rest by her enthusiastic calf who was nudging for her to get up to start feeding! Once Shanu was on her feet, baby spent a lot of time between her front legs looking for milk (at the wrong end!) and eventually at 5.20am she latched on and had her first, all-important suckle. And about an hour later she had her first wee!
The birth was supervised and supported by the Senior Rhino Handlers and Imire Game Park Manager, Reilly Travers. He said “I was privileged to be present during the birth of Shanu’s first calf. No doubt she will take to motherhood very naturally. The labour was straightforward and mother and baby are both progressing well. All of us at Imire are thrilled that the next generation of rhino breeding has begun and we look forward to many more successful births to help secure the survival of this amazing and endangered animal.”
Shanu is a 9 year old Black Rhinoceros (Diceros Bicornis) who was born on Imire in April 2005. Her name means five in Shona as she was her mother Amber’s fifth and, as it turned out, final calf. Amber was killed by poachers in November 2007 when she was very heavily pregnant, leaving little Shanu without a mother when she was just two and a half years old. It seems fitting that Shanu’s own calf has been born almost exactly seven years later. Shanu has always been a very well-behaved, model rhino, being used as an example to Gomo and KamuChaCha of how a rhino should behave! Tatenda and Shanu, our two orphans, have always had a strong bond and they have been allies since they were introduced to each other in 2008. We know that Shanu will be an amazing Mum, taking after quiet Amber who was so devoted to all her calves.
We are very excited to welcome our new addition to the Imire family and an important new arrival for this endangered population. We will keep you posted on the progress of this beautiful baby girl!