Safari park welcomes the three R’s

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Ronnie, Raine and Rafiki may sound like the latest triple-act vying for pop stardom, but are in fact the latest babies born to Woburn’s endangered species breeding programme.

Busy keepers at Woburn Safari Park are celebrating the birth of a Barbary macaque, an addax calf and a Rothschild’s giraffe.

Woburn’s youngest male baby giraffe, Ronnie, marks an important achievement for the park’s conservation efforts. With less than 670 Rothschild’s giraffes thought to be left in the wild, captive breeding programmes offer a vital lifeline.

Born to Kimmy, Ronnie displays the distinctive features of this species of giraffe with bold regular patches and cream-coloured “socks” with no markings below the knees.

Lindsay Banks, senior keeper, said: “Ronnie is proving to be a sweet-natured if slightly shy addition.”

With a name inspired by her mother, Forest, addax Raine has instantly gained a reputation as one of the park’s most vocal young residents, calling out to keepers whenever they approach.

Also known as the white antelope, addax are critically endangered. Recent surveys have found only three individuals in the wild.

Chris Smart, head of section, said: “Raine is fascinated by people and calls out to nearby keepers to get their attention.”

Rafiki is the first baby born to Woburn’s six-year-old Barbary macaque, Msasa. Wild populations of Barbary macaques have decreased rapidly over the last few years because of illegal pet trade and habitat loss and the species is now officially endangered.