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“He’s a bit like a big dog” - Africa Alive! near Lowestoft welcomes two new rhinos

PUBLISHED: 16:50 15 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:43 16 May 2017

Two Southern White Rhinos, Tootsie and Zimba, at Africa Alive! in Kessingland. Pictured is Tootsie, the 19 year-old female. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Two Southern White Rhinos, Tootsie and Zimba, at Africa Alive! in Kessingland. Pictured is Tootsie, the 19 year-old female. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

archant 2017

A wildlife park near Lowestoft has welcomed two large new arrivals.

Two Southern White Rhinos, Tootsie and Zimba, at Africa Alive! in Kessingland. Pictured is Tootsie, the 19 year-old female. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Two Southern White Rhinos, Tootsie and Zimba, at Africa Alive! in Kessingland. Pictured is Tootsie, the 19 year-old female. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Africa Alive! in Kessingland has added two southern white rhinos to its ‘Plains of Africa’ enclosure, and the pair are already settling into their new home.

The arrival of Zimba and Tootsie is part of a European breeding programme, and the zoo hopes it will mean the pitter patter of tiny rhino feet in the future.

Animal manager Terry Hornsey said: “It’s a really exciting time, it would be fantastic if they did breed.

“We’ve never bred rhinos before, although our first male arrived here in 2001, so it’s about time.”

Two Southern White Rhinos, Tootsie and Zimba, at Africa Alive! in Kessingland. Pictured is Tootsie, the 19 year-old female. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Two Southern White Rhinos, Tootsie and Zimba, at Africa Alive! in Kessingland. Pictured is Tootsie, the 19 year-old female. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Female rhino Tootsie has already been introduced to resident females Norma and Njiri, while eight-year-old male Zimba is spending quality time with the giraffe, zebra, antelope and ostrich before he meets the rest of the herd.

Mr Hornsey said: “He’s really good, he’s a bit like a big dog. He’s quite young, he comes when you call him, he jumps about and he wants to play. He’s not agressive at all, he’s just being boisterous.”

The southern white rhino is classified as ‘near threatened’ due to escalating poaching in recent years and the high illegal demand for horn.

Two Southern White Rhinos, Tootsie and Zimba, at Africa Alive! in Kessingland. Pictured is Tootsie, the 19 year-old female. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Two Southern White Rhinos, Tootsie and Zimba, at Africa Alive! in Kessingland. Pictured is Tootsie, the 19 year-old female. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Two Southern White Rhinos, Tootsie and Zimba, at Africa Alive! in Kessingland. Pictured is Zimba, the 8 year-old male. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Two Southern White Rhinos, Tootsie and Zimba, at Africa Alive! in Kessingland. Pictured is Zimba, the 8 year-old male. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Two Southern White Rhinos, Tootsie and Zimba, at Africa Alive! in Kessingland. Pictured is Zimba, the 8 year-old male. Picture : ANTONY KELLY Two Southern White Rhinos, Tootsie and Zimba, at Africa Alive! in Kessingland. Pictured is Zimba, the 8 year-old male. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

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