Several of our species play an important role in the International breeding programmes, coordinated by BIAZA and / or EAZA.
Breeding programmes are coordinated through the EEP (European Endangered Species Programme) which focuses on species with a critically endangered status or above; less critical endangered species are managed within European Stud Books (ESB’s). We currently have 12 species that are part of an EEP and 8 are part of an ESB.
Our White Rhino are part of an EEP and over the last ten years we have seen 11 calves born here at Knowsley Safari with the latest at the beginning of 2016 making us one of the top breeding collections in Europe.
The new calf was born to 21 yr old Meru on the 2nd of Jan and we are particularly excited about this birth as it will bring much needed diversity to the captive gene pool and will ultimately help to bolster the captive rhino population.
Rhino Keeper, John Moss, says: “We’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the calf for 16 months – the average gestation period of a rhino. We’re really enjoying monitoring her as she explores and interacts with the new surroundings, she’s already so mischievous as she runs around her mum, copying her mannerisms.”
“Meru is a great mother and has now had six calves here at the safari. We have a large 100 acre space here for the crash to grow that helps us keep up such a consistent breeding programme, which ranks us as one of the top white rhino breeding groups in Europe.”
Breeding season differs depending on the species: some are continuous breeders, some are opportunistic breeders and some are seasonal breeders. Always look out for animals giving birth as you visit the safari drive. At some points throughout the year you might be lucky enough to spot the birth of a new animal!