Singapore Zoo welcomes 21st rhino calf; first male in 5 years walks within an hour of birth

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The so-far unnamed calf is bonding with its keepers, who give it friendly scratches with a brush. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
The new arrival is prolific mother Donsa's eleventh calf. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Donsa the white rhino was busy in the wee hours of Sept 6 at the Singapore Zoo.

The prolific mother was quietly delivering its eleventh calf - the zoo's 21st rhino.

The first male rhino to be born in five years after a string of females, it is currently unnamed but is reported to be energetic and healthy.

In fact, by the time zookeepers arrived for work, barely an hour after its birth, it was already wobbling around and taking its first few steps.

But, of course, the young rhino's life was made to be comfortable even before it arrived. Zookeepers had already prepared the birthing den for Donsa two days before the expected delivery.

To assimilate the calf - the seventh white rhino - into the zoo and make it comfortable with the zookeepers' presence, they bond with the calf by giving it friendly scratches with a brush. These sessions also help condition the calf for future medical training, allowing it to be examined and given simple treatment without being stressed.

As of now, the Singapore Zoo has had 21 rhino births under its belt. Some of the animals have been sent to Australia, Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand as part of conservation efforts through the zoo's worldwide animal exchange programme.

Mother and baby are now resting at zoo's back-of-house rhino facility. Visitors will be able to see the white rhino calf in a few months, once it is ready to join the rest of the herd.

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