Pembrokeshire zoo, Folly Farm, has confirmed its six-year-old rhino, Dakima, is expecting her first calf – one of the rarest animals in the world.

As the first rhino to be born in Wales, this birth will increase the population of this critically endangered species.

There are thought to be fewer than 650 eastern black rhinos left in the wild and just 88 in zoos across Europe.

It was thought Dakima had conceived in October last year after being slowly introduced to eight-year-old Nkosi.

All being well she is expected to give birth in January 2020.

Tim Morphew, zoo curator at Folly Farm, said: “We’re over the moon to announce that our lovely Dakima is pregnant.

"Similar to any human pregnancy it’s still early days at the moment but, if all goes well, we can expect our new arrival early next year.

“As part of the Endangered Species Breeding Programme for eastern black rhino, we knew we would be receiving a female rhino, but it wasn’t guaranteed that she would get on with Nkosi let alone become pregnant.

“We’re proud to be playing a part in increasing numbers of these fantastic animals in captivity and hopefully ultimately in the wild.

“We’ve been working with Dakima and Nkosi for a few months, slowly and carefully introducing them to each other when she was in season. Mating with these species can be very explosive and if she wasn’t in the mood - she’d be sure to let him know!

“She isn’t showing any signs of a bump just yet so to confirm her pregnancy we took samples of her poo to Chester Zoo’s laboratories where they analysed the hormone levels and confirmed the great news.

“ Adaptions need to be made to Kifaru Reserve, Folly Farm’s flagship exhibit, to accommodate the new smaller (and cuter) member of the family.

He continued: “We’ll need to baby proof the enclosure, making sure there’s no sharp corners and the new baby is safe, as well as prepare for Dakima’s birth creating a new bed to make it as comfortable as possible. We’re also going to be using our new sustainable biomass heater to make the enclosure as cosy as we can for Dakima and the baby.

“Dakima is in great spirits at the moment, as a first-time mum she is taking everything in her stride. We’ll support her in her pregnancy making sure it’s as natural as possible but will step in where necessary. As for Nkosi, rhinos are solitary animals, so his job is pretty much done!”

Folly Farm’s Kifaru Reserve is a £500,000 purpose-built exhibit which tells the story of the role of modern zoos in conservation and highlights Folly Farm’s hands-on commitment to conservation through the projects it supports in the wild and closer to home.

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