Yorkshire has welcomed the first baby black rhino born in Europe this year.

The critically endangered animal’s arrivals was recorded on camera by zookeepers at Flamingo Land near Malton.

The as-yet-unnamed baby male was born at 5.25pm on Sunday after its mother had a 16-month pregnancy.

It is the first eastern black rhinoceros to be born in Yorkshire, and continues the zoo’s conservation work, which has seen two rhinos leave the site to be released into the wild in Africa.

The World Wildlife Foundation says there are only around 5,600 black rhino left in the world and the animals are listed as critically endangered.

The eastern subspecies has been poached for its horns, which are longer, leaner and more curved.

The calf’s mum Samira was transferred to Flamingo Land from Zurich Zoo in 2015 while dad Magadi arrived from Chester Zoo in 2019.

Their offspring’s first moments were watched by zookeepers on a network of cameras.

Head keeper Sam DeBelle said: ‘We have waited so long for this baby, both mum and baby are doing incredibly well and I am so proud of Samira and all her keepers.’

Hailing the first birth for the species on the continent in 2021, zoo manager and park executive Ross Snipp added: ‘This success represents eight years of planning for the team and working collaboratively with our partners across Europe.

‘All new births are exciting but there is added significance for this one, both for us and the global population.’

Mr Snipp said keepers are trying to decide on a Swahili name for the calf, which he described as ‘big and strong and active’.

He explained: ‘He is going to grow to be a big, strong, strapping male.’

Flamingo Land’s owner Gordon Gibb said: ‘This is the first time a black rhino has been born in Yorkshire and, with only [a few thousand] black rhinos left in the wild, continued our vitally important conservation work at home and abroad.’

The zoo moved female rhino Olmoti to the National Park in Rwanda in 2019 in the biggest translocation of rhinos ever to Africa.

Then, in March, eight-year-old Chanua left Flamingo Land ahead of a move to Tanzania, where she will be released into the wild.

Mr Gibb said: ‘Who knows, one day this baby may follow in the footsteps of his big sisters.’

There are 85 eastern black rhinos in European zoos and no more than an estimated 3,600 in the wild in Kenya and Tanzania, the home of Flamingo Land’s Udzungwa Forest Project.

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