Baby Ajang makes mighty entrance

CONSERVATIONISTS are celebrating the birth of a rhino calf born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo last week.

The calf, named Ajang, has delighted the animal community as the greater one-horned rhino is a critically endangered species in the wild.

It is thought there are less than 450 rhinos left in the animal’s native Nepal.

Proud mother Behin was in labour for three days, eventually giving birth to the not-so-little calf- who weighed in at a whopping 13 stone. He was aptly named Ajang by keepers, as the name means enormous in Nepalese.

Keepers were able to watch the progress of the labour through a CCTV monitor which they set up next door to the nursery paddock where he was born.

Deputy section leader Veronica Watkins said: “It was a tough and exhausting labour for Behin, so it was a terrific relief to watch her deliver a healthy young calf who was up on his feet in a very short time.”

Ajang is the third calf to be born at Whipsnade. He is the first offspring to Hugo, who arrived at Whipsnade from Poland two years ago, and is second child to Behin, from Nepal.

The zoo opened an indoor facility for its flourishing rhino herd in 2008, which has enabled visitors of the Rhinos of Nepal exhibit to view rhinos inside and outside all year round.

Veronica Watkins said: “It’s great to build the population in captivity, but these animals aren’t doing so well in the wild where their species is under constant threat.

“We hope visitors who see Ajang will want to help us protect the last of his kind in the wild.”