We have welcomed two rare black rhinos this week as the latest additions to our animal family.
Our eastern black rhinos are the only herd in Wales, consisting of one male, named Nkosi, and one female, Manyara. A third female will join the group shortly, making the trio a breeding herd.
The rhinos have made the Kifaru Reserve - a five and a half acre, purpose built paddock - their new home, which features a bespoke house that includes four indoor facilities and straw beds for them to sleep on.
As rhinos are solitary animals and generally don't enjoy the company of other rhinos, the Kifaru Reserve has separate interlinking rooms, allowing them to be moved around easily.
The new enclosure will be a flagship exhibit to tell the story of the role of modern zoos in conservation and will highlight Folly Farm's hands-on commitment to conservation through the projects it supports in the wild and closer to home.
Jack Gradidge, our head rhino keeper said:
"We've all been looking forward to the black rhinos joining our Folly Farm family. They're such majestic animals, and it's a real privilege to be given the chance to work with them. We've travelled to several zoos in the UK and even across the world to learn from other keepers who look after rhinos. It's going to be a new experience for all of us, but now they're here we can really start to get to know their individual personalities. There are thought to be fewer than 650 eastern black rhinos left in the wild and just 66 in zoos across Europe. Folly Farm will be only the sixth zoo in the UK to hold this critically endangered species. The IUCN Red List categorises eastern black rhinos as critically endangered and they will be the 16th species to be on the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme, of which Folly Farm is an active member. The arrival of the third female rhino means we hope to be able to start a breeding group with our male rhino Nkosi in the future. A breeding programme will not start straight away as our rhinos are still too young, but it is something we hope to do as part of our Conservation Commitment and it is highly likely that a rhino calf born at Folly Farm will be re-introduced into the wild."
An adult black rhino can weigh up to 1.5 tonnes, similar to the weight of a car, and eat lucerne hay, pellets, branches and leaves. Rhinos form dung piles known as middens to mark their territory, and are usually very shy and reclusive animals.
We will use the new enclosure to raise money for the Rhino Dog Squad appeal by Save the Rhino. The money raised will help train dogs and dog handlers as they play a vital role in protecting rhinos across wildlife conservancies by tracking the scent of rhinos, their horns, guns and ammunition as well as being able to attack poachers in order to disable the gun holding arm.