A RHINOCEROS mother and her calf are set to be unveiled in a £1.6m project to make a theme park and zoo among Europe's leading places to see the animals.

Staff at Flamingo Land, near Pickering, said black rhinos Samira and nine-month-old Olmoti had arrived from Zurich zoo as part of an international breeding programme and would be joined at the North Yorkshire attraction by a male.

The animals, which can reach 3.75m in length, weigh 1.5 tonnes and are capable of running at 35mph, will be the first inhabitants of the zoo's Selous Black Rhino Reserve.

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It features an extensive multi-terrain environment, a giant centrally heated house for the animals, which are native to central Africa, and a high-level public access platform, allowing visitors views both inside and out the building.

A spokesman for Flamingo Land, which also has two white rhinos and is one of two zoos in Europe keeping both species, said: "After a day or two settling into their new home, they will be greeting visitors.

"Moving a mother and baby calf together is an incredibly rare event."