A RARE white rhino calf has been born at Cotswold Wildlife Park.

Little Alan is the fourth white rhino to be born in the park since the first rhino birth there in 2013 and he weighed a whopping eleven stone when he was just one week old.

He is Ruby and Monty's second calf and is apparently a high-spirited and boisterous youngster..

Alan is named in honour of the park’s electrician who retires this year after twenty-three years of dedicated service.

Visitors can see the new calf daily in the large rhino paddock and solar-powered Rhino House.

Reggie Heyworth, Managing Director of Cotswold Wildlife Park, said: “Everyone is overjoyed about the birth of another rhino calf to Ruby, who is being such a good mother, for the second time.

"The calf looks like a strong lad already, and the rest of the rhino 'crash' seem to be taking his arrival in their stride.

"With Rhinos facing such poaching pressures in the wild, every birth in captivity is a sign of hope for this wonderful species”.

Births in captivity are considered extremely rare, with only thirteen white rhinos being born in European zoos in the last twelve months.

Females only reproduce every two-and-a-half to five years, so the window of opportunity for successful reproduction is limited.

After a gestation period of sixteen to eighteen months, a single calf is born.

This is one of the longest gestation periods of any land mammal, surpassed only by the twenty-two month gestation period of an elephant.

The white rhino is living proof of conservation success.

They were once the rarest subspecies of any Rhino and were on the verge of extinction in the early 1900s, when it was believed only around 50 of them remained in their native South Africa.

Thanks to excellent and sustained protection, they are now the most common of the five rhino species, although poaching in the last five years has once again escalated to serious levels.