A rare beast has been born at Newquay Zoo. The female black wildebeest is one of just a handful to be born in the UK in recent years.

The conservation charity is home to a small group of black wildebeest, with the latest addition being born to first time mum Dessi and dad Roony on 26th July. The calf was able to walk within minutes of being born and will eventually grow to around 4 feet tall and weigh up to a hefty 400 pounds.

Also known as the white-tailed gnu (pronounced g-noo), black wildebeest live on the open plains and grasslands of East and South Africa. They are unusual looking creatures, with a box shaped head, long mane and curved horns – although calves don’t tend to get their horns until they are a few months old.

Curator of Animals John Meek said: ‘The birth of this little one is a great effort towards the conservation of this species and towards the captive breeding programme Newquay Zoo is involved in. Mum and baby are doing great! Dessi is very protective over her first born and has taken to motherhood extremely well.’

Despite their conservation status of Least Concern (one of the lower categories on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species) they are in fact a rare species as a result of hybridization with the blue wildebeest and over hunting.

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