Endangered Folly Farm eastern black rhino is pregnant

Eastern black rhinos Dakima and Nkosi Image copyright Folly Farm
Image caption Dakima and Nkosi were "slowly and carefully" introduced to each other, the zoo said

A critically endangered species could be given a boost after a Welsh zoo confirmed its female rhino is pregnant.

Dakima, a six-year-old eastern black rhino living at Pembrokeshire's Folly Farm, is expected to give birth to her first calf in January.

The animal's natural habitat is east Africa, where there are thought to be fewer than 650 remaining.

Dakima was introduced to her partner Nkosi as part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme.

Staff were "over the moon" after her pregnancy was confirmed by analysing hormone levels in her stool samples, zoo curator Tim Morphew said.

"We're proud to be playing a part in increasing numbers of these fantastic animals in captivity and hopefully ultimately in the wild," he said.

"Similar to any human pregnancy it's still early days at the moment but, if all goes well, we can expect our new arrival early next year."

The calf would become the first rhino to be born in Wales.

Image copyright Folly Farm
Image caption Male rhino Nkosi's job is "pretty much done", according to zoo curator Tim Morphew

Despite some tricky moments getting to this point, all signs are Dakima is enjoying pregnancy.

"Mating with these species can be very explosive and if she wasn't in the mood - she'd be sure to let him know," Mr Morphew added.

"Dakima is in great spirits at the moment, as a first-time mum she is taking everything in her stride.

"We'll support her in her pregnancy; making sure it's as natural as possible, but will step in where necessary. As for Nkosi, rhinos are solitary animals, so his job is pretty much done."

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