A RARE black rhino, one of the worlds most endangered animals, has found a new home at Flamingo Land zoo and theme park in North Yorkshire.

Chanua, a four year old black rhino has been transferred from Chester Zoo where she was born, to Flamingo Land which has set up the special Selous Reserve as part of its commitment to animal conservation.

The zoo is the only animal collection in the country which has both black and white rhinos and is part of an ambitious move to carry on work with the European Endangered species program which concentrates on safeguarding the future of threatened animals through cooperative breeding.

Zoo Manager Ross Snipp said: “Chanua forms part of our ongoing commitment to the conservation of the black rhino species, not just at Flamingo Land but as part of the global programme and it is a delight to welcome her to the park.

“She joins our other black rhinos Samira and Olmoti and in due course it is hoped that she will form part of a breeding programme at the zoo.”

Flamingo Land opened its Selous Black Rhino Reserve in 2015 to aid efforts in the global breeding programme. Concern is growing for the species which is being decimated by poaching to feed massive demand in the Far East for rhino horn because of its perceived medicinal properties.

“The black rhino is critically endangered in the wild and its population numbers have declined by 90 per cent since the 1960’s,” said Ms Snipp.

“We work closely with other wildlife partners in Europe, such as the team at Chester Zoo, to ensure the long term future of the species and also ensure the genetic pool remains as varied as possible.”

While conservationists have seen some positive signs that populations are slowly growing again after continuing decline, there are still only around 700 black rhinos left in the wild.

The herd of black rhinos at Chester Zoo plays a crucial role in saving the species from extinction, backed by Flamingo Land. The scientific research and conservation breeding programmes create a protected population of Black rhino and can also influence the ways that rhino habitats and breeding programmes are managed in the wild.

The Selous Black Rhino Reserve was built by the zoo managers after extensive research to try to give the rhinos the best possible home and features a large all terrain area with a big centrally heated rhino house and a high-level public access platform. This gives visitors the chance to watch the animals both inside and out without disturbing them.