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Rhino picture and new arrival at Banham Zoo heralds a bright new future for zoos

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Africa Alive and Banham Zoo have announced new additions to their animal family as they bounce back from a challenging year.

The zoos, which are run by the Zoological Society of East Anglia, made the announcement on Tuesday, just over a week after reopening.

Banham Zoo welcomes a newly hatched Ruppell's Griffon Vulture chick, - while Africa Alive has a new resident, in the form of a female Southern White Rhino named Belle which was relocated from Cotswold Wildlife Park.

Belle has been rehomed from a wildlife park. Picture credit: Ben Thomas Photography
Belle has been rehomed from a wildlife park. Picture credit: Ben Thomas Photography

The rhino has since been introduced to resident females Norma and Njiri and is now in the process of getting used to Zimba, Africa Alive’s male southern white rhino, in the hope they will successfully breed.

Having previously been hunted almost to extinction, the number of southern white rhinos has since grown but with the risk of poaching on the increase, these magnificent animals are now classed as near threatened in the wild.

To date, Africa Alive have donated over £33,000 to Save the Rhino as part of its involvement in the conservation of this species.

Terry Hornsey, animal manager at Africa Alive, said: "As a testament to everyone involved, Belle arrived in good health and we are very much looking forward with anticipation to the forthcoming year and Belle’s first full season with Zimba, Norma and Njiri.”

Meanwhile at Banham Zoo, a Ruppell’s griffon vulture chick has hatched as part of the captive breeding programme for this species to mother Verity, a female vulture who was one of the earlier chicks hatched at the zoo, and father Foster.

Mike Woolham, Head of Living Collections at Banham Zoo, said: “We are very proud to breed these spectacular animals and have done for many years. These birds are critically endangered in the wild due to ongoing problems with poachers. These vultures are seriously threatened in the wild due to habitat loss, poisoning and hunting with numbers believed to have dropped by up to 97% in just 50 years. So far to date we have donated almost £45,000 to vulture conservation as a result of these displays.”

A new chick has recently hatched at Banham Zoo.
A new chick has recently hatched at Banham Zoo.

To find out more information about the Zoological Society of East Anglia’s conservation work, visit: www.banhamzoo.co.uk or www.africa-alive.co.uk

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