THE new year sees a new addition to Colchester Zoo after a white rhino was born.

The zoo’s white rhino Emily fell pregnant in 16 months ago and she has now given birth to a healthy female calf.

The Animal Care Team were aware she was due any day and had around-the-clock CCTV on Emily so they could ensure they could be at her side when she went into labour.

A zoo spokesman said: “All went smoothly, as with her previous births, and the calf is strong and healthy with mum doing really well.

“Emily’s calf took a while to find her feet but was up and moving around within a few hours and has been feeding well. Emily is an experienced mum and so is taking it all in her stride.”

Emily and her calf will remain in the indoor area of the rhino house to start with but on warmer days may be given access to outdoors.

As the calf grows she will gradually be introduced to the main paddock and her neighbours living at the Kingdom of the Wild.

Visitors may be able to catch a glimpse of the youngster from the outdoor viewing area depending on the weather, or via the balcony inside the Kingdom of the Wild building.

The zoo also has a Rhino Cam which is visible from the top viewing area inside the Kingdom of the Wild building.

The zoo spokesman added: “This big bundle of joy is Emily’s third calf, all of which she has had with us here at Colchester Zoo with our male white rhino, Otto.

“A rhino’s gestation period is 16 months so we’re sure Emily is more than pleased to have successfully given birth and she can now enjoy raising her calf.

“Emily is a great mum and we’re looking forward to watching them bond together as the calf grows.”

The Animal Care Team is waiting until she is a little older before they name her, but African name suggestions are welcome.

Emily became pregnant within two months of being reunited with her old flame, Otto.

Otto is the father of Emily’s previous calves, Pembe and Kifaru. He temporarily left Colchester Zoo on breeding loan to Woburn Safari Park.

Colchester Zoo has had a number of previous successful births as part of the breeding programme and this new arrival will be the fifth calf to be born at the zoo.

White rhinos are listed as Near Threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List due to the poaching crisis and ivory trade.

The zoo also celebrated the birth of three Amur tiger cubs and twin Amur leopard cubs last year.