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€2.7m in donations and a host of new arrivals in rollercoaster year at the zoo

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A southern white rhinoceros calf was born to mother Ashanti at Dublin Zoo

A southern white rhinoceros calf was born to mother Ashanti at Dublin Zoo

A southern white rhinoceros calf was born to mother Ashanti at Dublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo welcomed several newborn animals in a year when it feared it would go out of business.

The zoo announced last month that it was struggling to survive after being forced to close because of Covid-19 restrictions.

However, in the space of only 12 hours it raised €1m in donations from the public, and the pot has since reached €2.7m.

It costs around €500,000 a month to run the zoo.

Last February, southern white rhinoceros Ashanti gave birth to a male calf weighing 50kg after a 16-month pregnancy.

The zoo is a member of a European breeding prog- ramme for the species, of which only 18,000 remain in the wild.

Most are in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Kenya, and are often poached for their horn.

The zoo also celebrated the hatching of two rare Hum- boldt penguin chicks in March.

Parents Monica (7) and Joey (8) welcomed their chick first, followed days later by an- other for Magdalena (18) and Patrick (16).

Both hatchlings will join the 16-strong colony.

Humboldt penguins are classified as "vulnerable", with 32,000 existing in the wild off the coasts of Chile and Peru.

In August, a Siamang gibbon baby was born to Cahaya (10) and Luca (19). Siamangs are mainly found in southeast Asia.

Excited

The zoo also celebrated the birth of a new Goeldi's monkey late last month.

"As the baby is just one-month-old and still very close to its mother, we aren't able to confirm gender just yet, but we're excited to find out in 2021," a spokesperson said.

Dublin Zoo plans to stay open over the festive period, with the exceptions of Christmas Day and St Stephen's Day.


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