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.

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."