Rare baby rhino born during lockdown at Chester Zoo

The Chester Zoo may be locked down from visitors, but life continues in an exciting — and adorable — way behind closed gates.

Zookeepers announced Friday the birth of an Eastern black rhino at the U.K. zoo. The species is critically endangered.

As an added bonus for conservationists who rarely get to see this, the birth was caught on camera.

The female calf was even captured on video getting to her feet for the first, wobby time.

“The little one suckled from mum, Ema Elsa within just 10 minutes of being born,” the zoo added.

Now, keepers are looking for a name.

The shortlist is down to Kasulu (a town in Tanzania), Koshi (meaning ‘to try’) and Kaari (meaning ‘young girl/young daughter’).

Every new birth matters.

Habitat destruction and poaching has decimated the species. There are perhaps 1,000 individuals left in the world.

Andrew McKenzie, Chester Zoo’s team manager of rhinos, said the whole team is “overjoyed” with this successful birth after a 15-month pregnancy.

“Mum and calf have bonded wonderfully and have been showing us all of the right signs,” he said in a statement Friday. “These rhinos have been pushed to the very edge of existence and every single addition to the European endangered species breeding programme is celebrated globally.”

There are perhaps 1,000 eastern black rhinos left on the planet. Photo: Chester Zoo/Facebook

Zoos around the world are part of a breeding program trying to preserve the species. The animals only live in the wild in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.

“In the future,” McKenzie added, “as we work to ensure more safe areas, we hope Ema and her offspring, like others before them born into the European breeding programme, are one day able to make the journey back to Africa.”

The zoo remains under a nationwide lockdown until Dec. 2.

Posted by Chester Zoo on Friday, November 13, 2020

And on Nov. 20 zookeepers offered this name update:

Welcome Kasulu!

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Recovering newspaper reporter.

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