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SMALL MEETS TALL AS BABY RHINO ENCOUNTERS GIRAFFE

Baby white rhino, Ekozu, has been busy meeting some of West Midland Safari Park’s larger and very inquisitive inhabitants.

Now at two months old and growing in confidence every day, both mum and baby have been exploring every corner of the African section of the four-mile drive-through safari. Naturally, this meant bumping into a variety of very curious animals.

First to investigate their new, tiny companion were the giraffe. Gentle by nature, mum, Ailsa, seemed at ease as female giraffe, Faida, slowly bent her neck to get a closer look. They came nose to nose, which was a bit too close for the youngster, who boldly attempted a quick nudge to show who’s boss!

Next on the scene were the Congo buffalo. Like all cattle, they were extremely inquisitive and each seemed to take it in turns to test just how close they could get to baby Ekozu. Mum was a bit more wary this time and seemed to have had enough of their nosey nature, so after a few grunts and a brief stand off, the buffalo soon trotted away to get on with their day.

The Park’s Photo and Video Team, Matt Lissimore and James Felton, have been out on the reserves observing the little one since his first day out. Matt said, “Observing and photographing Ekozu as he learns and plays has been an incredible experience and a real privilege. He’s full of energy first thing in the morning and on occasions it’s been quite a challenge trying to keep up with him! I hope that Ekozu sparks the public’s interest in these animals and helps to raise awareness for rhino conservation.”

James added, “It’s been interesting to look back at the early footage and see how much he has grown, even in such a short space of time. You can see him actually starting to develop a personality; from being quite timid and not leaving his mum’s side, to growing in confidence as he meets the other animals. I hope everyone has enjoyed watching the videos as much as I’ve enjoyed making them.”

Emma Ashley, Rhino Keeper said, “Ekozu is doing so well, keeping mum, Ailsa, on her toes as he has been meeting all the other species in the safari drive through. Now the temperatures are increasing, he has been splashing around in the wallow and enjoying playing in the mud. He is now well integrated with the other females, Keyah, Mtuba and Trixie and they are getting used to having a youngster disturbing their peace!”

Although Ekozu is still small, his feisty personality seemed to have an affect on most of the animals, who soon learnt to keep their distance. None more so than some resting ducks, who had to quickly flee as Ekozu came playfully charging towards them!

To celebrate the birth of their first baby rhino in a decade, the Park will be hosting Rhino Week as part of their Whitsun holiday celebrations. From 28 May - 5 June, guests can become a ‘Rhino Ranger’, take part in rhino themed arts and crafts and participate in various activities and competitions. All funds raised from the week will be donated to Save the Rhino International and will support the Save the Rhino Trust.