191202 rhino
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Brussels: A rare southern white rhino was born at a zoo in Belgium, boosting efforts to save the endangered species, the park said on Monday.

“An adorable little male was born in the early morning of Monday… Madiba, the mother, and her baby are doing well,” Pairi Daiza zoo said in a statement.

There are roughly 18,000 southern white rhinos in the wild but the subspecies is being exterminated by poachers at a rate of one every eight hours.

Another species of rhino, the world’s second-largest land mammal, the northern white, is in even more danger with only two left in existence.

The remaining northern white pair are both female, so they will die out unless their genes can be preserved or recovered and an artificial breeding programme begins.

In July, a southern white calf was born through artificial insemination in San Diego, in what the zoo hailed as a step toward perfecting the technique.

The Belgian zoo has another female, Elie, in gestation. Her birth is expected “by the end of this year”. Both are natural pregnancies, the zoo said.

Elie has already had a calf, Sethemba, who was born in 2016 and has been transferred to a zoo in the Spanish city of Malaga as part of Europe’s captive breeding programme.