TO mark Father’s Day, West Midland Safari Park will be celebrating all dads - including their own ‘animal dads’ who have become new fathers over the past year.

In September 2020, the Park announced the arrival of an Indian rhino calf, named Inesh, who is the first of his species to be born on site in the Park’s forty-eight-year history. The calf’s thirteen-year-old father, Rap, became a dad for the first time upon Inesh’s birth and his son has followed in his footsteps, showing off his love for wallowing in the mud for guests visiting.

Redditch Advertiser: Rap the Indian rhinoRap the Indian rhino

Redditch Advertiser: Rhino calf IneshRhino calf Inesh

In other areas of the Park, fourteen year old Humboldt Penguin, Ebony, became a new father in May, following the birth of a male chick. Unfortunately, the chick arrived with splayed legs, but thankfully after some physiotherapy and lots of care from the Park’s vet team, the chick can now stand and even walk. Playfully named, John Wayne, the chick has been thriving and his dad Ebony is a very caring and protective father.

Redditch Advertiser: John Wayne the Humboldt penguin chick John Wayne the Humboldt penguin chick

Elsewhere, a Pere David stag and a Barasingha stag also successfully welcomed babies in Spring of 2021, with both visible on the Park’s Safari drive-through that same day.

Most recently, the Park’s resident Southern White rhino male, named Barney, also celebrated becoming a dad for the fourth time in June this year, with the birth of his son Jambo. Barney is the largest of the Park’s White rhino but is always very gentle when it comes to playing with his calves. This was the fourth white rhino to be born at the Park in the last five years.

Head of Wildlife, Angela Potter, said, “It’s been a wonderful year for our resident animal dads, both old and new. From our rhino to our penguins, we are very proud of them, and they will be receiving some special treats in the form of their favourite foods on Father’s Day.

“Breeding is essential to maintain populations in animal collections, which serve as an ark for many species that are endangered in the wild. Properly managed breeding programmes ensure good genetic diversity and healthy animals and can contribute to conservation through research and reintroductions.”