Baby black rhino struts in public debut

Baby black rhino struts in public debut

It's a good day for the endangered black rhino - the species number has grown by one.

The adorable baby has yet to be named and only just made her public debut, despite being born on October 11 weighing in at a mere 36kg.

June Olds, Des Moines' Blank Park Zoo's senior vet, says the little rhino is very strong, vocal and healthy.

The birth is great news for the species. In 1993, there were just under 2500 black rhinos in the world, due to large scale poaching.

But now the population has bloomed to around 5000.

It may seem like a big jump, but the species is still endangered, and only six of the animals houses in North American zoos are breeding females.

"I think on all of the births that we've had at the zoo, probably none are more significant from a public appeals standpoint," says Kevin Dress, director of animal care and conservation at the zoo.

"From an endangered wildlife standpoint, it's a special survival programme, a species where the parents were brought together four years ago as a good genetic match."

Eastern black rhino expert Lisa Smith told the Des Moines Register every baby counts.

"Considering rhinos are so endangered, whether it is a captive or wild birth, it is really important to just add to the world's rhino population."