Cotswold Wildlife Park welcomes two baby white rhinos in one week

Cotswold Wildlife Park is celebrating its annual Rhino Month with a huge milestone as it welcomes two baby white rhino calves — born just a week apart!

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published

Marking an incredible milestone in rhino conservation, Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens has made history this month, welcoming two new baby white rhinos in the space of a week.

It's the first time in the park's history that two rhinos have given birth just a week apart — with white rhino Ruby becoming mum to a male calf on Saturday 12 August, and white rhino Nancy giving birth to a female calf on Saturday 19 August 2023.

The two new arrivals bring the total number of rhino calves born at Cotswold Wildlife Park in the last 11 years up to 11.

Not only a remarkable achievement for the Burford-based wildlife park, it's a huge milestone for the European Breeding Programme and rhino conservation efforts worldwide.

Ruby's calf was named Henry in an auction to raise money for rhino conservation — which, coincidentally, is the name of head keeper Mark Godwin's son. It means both of his children, who live on-site at the wildlife park, share the same name as two of its rhino calves, as Godwin named a female calf after his daughter, Molly, just a few years ago.

The new baby had a famous visitor too, as his mum's namesake, actress Ruby Wax, was the first to see him while the pair were being kept under observation. Wax, who is a supportive visitor of the wildlife park, named Ruby when she arrived from South Africa in 2009, just ahead of Cotswold Wildlife Park's Ruby anniversary in March 2010.

Nancy's calf, who is yet to be named, is her second baby in 10 years after she gave birth to Cotswold Wildlife Park's very first breeding success, Astrid, in July 2013.

Commenting on the births, managing director of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Reggie Heyworth, said: 'It is so exciting to welcome a white rhino calf into the world. So it is even more amazing that, in the space of one week, both our wonderful female rhinos, Nancy and Ruby, have now had calves.

'That makes it 11 calves born here at the Wildlife Park in 11 years. What joy they have brought to us all, they are just the most charismatic and lovely animals and visitors and staff alike are absolutely entranced by them. 

'My father, the founder of the Wildlife Park, died in 2012 just before our first calf was born but I'm sure he would be absolutely over the moon if he knew. Rhinos are a real Heyworth favourite.'

The timing of the births couldn't be better, as Cotswold Wildlife Park has dedicated the whole month of August to Rhino Month in a bid to raise awareness and funds for rhino conservation work in Africa.

Throughout the month, visitors can find out more information about the conservation work the park supports, as well as the crash of rhinos that live there — and there's even the chance to win a rhino encounter at the dedicated stall on the lawn by the rhino paddock from Saturday 26 to Monday 28 August 2023.

As part of its fundraising mission, Cotswold Wildlife Park opened bidding on a very unique item: a 24-carat gold-leaf rhino dropping, which is being auctioned off to raise money for UK-based conservation charity, Tusk Trust — and caught the attention of music mogul Simon Cowell.

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