Our African Elephant Savannah will become a home for a group of Southern white rhinoceros. The installation of this new species should be taking place in 2017 if modest renovations and animal acquisitions run according to plans.
“We’ve been wanting to acquire white rhinos for some time,” said Zoo President Rick Schwartz. “The empty elephant exhibit gave use a great opportunity to move rhinos here and let the public see them long before we plan to open a permanent habitat for this species.”
Three male white rhinoceros will be arriving from an animal reserve in Florida within the next few months. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for rhinos has identified these males as candidates for breeding.
“These guys will be a valuable start for our rhino collection,” said Zoo Mammal Curator Lanny Brown. “The AZA recognizes the value these males bring to the captive breeding program which means our Zoo will be an attractive location for the addition of females down the road.”
As we’ve announced in earlier blog posts, our elephants are moving to new homes as we prepare to make renovations to the existing barn and eventually grow our elephant collection. This process is complex and specifics still being developed. As a result, we anticipate being without elephants for a while. In the meantime, only modest renovations are needed to comfortably house rhinos and elephant renovation and expansion plans can continue while rhinos remain in the elephant exhibit.
Rhinoceros are an essential element for the Zoo’s Master Plan and they will eventually be exhibited in an African themed habitat on currently undeveloped property. The addition of rhinos is generously supported by Kathryn & David Brown and Katie & Kevin Crumbo. We are actively seeking additional funding to complete the rhinoceros project.