ATLANTA, Ga – A release by Zoo Atlanta says their 2-year-old male, eastern black rhinoceros is leaving the Zoo on May 2nd. Zoo officials say he will be introduced to a female eastern black rhino at Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas in an attempt to preserve of one of the planet’s most endangered mammal species.
Zoo Atlanta President and CEO Raymond B. King says the 2-year-old rhino, named, Jabari, was the first rhino born at Zoo Atlanta. Born August 17, 2013, Jabari has been living independently from his mother, 9-year-old Andazi, since early November 2015. Eastern black rhinos are solitary in the wild and are weaned from their mothers when they are around 2 years old. Jabari’s father now lives at the Cincinnati Zoo.
“Jabari has the distinction of being the first rhino ever born at Zoo Atlanta in our 127-year history, so he’s very special to us here at the Zoo,” says King. “We’re proud that he’ll now get to play his own individual part in preserving a species that without conservation action faces extinction in our lifetimes.”
Eastern Black Rhino, an endangered species
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) says it recommended Jabari’s move as a breeding recommendation for its Rhino Species Survival Plan (SSP). AZA says the plan works to ensure healthy, genetically diverse and self-sustaining animal populations within North American zoos. They say that goal is especially crucial for this critically endangered species.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature says eastern black rhino populations have declined by as much as 90 percent over just three generations. They say the species’ most pressing threat is illegal hunting for their horns. The IUCN says rhino horn has been valued as highly as gold on black markets.
Eastern black rhinos can only be found in the wild on nature preserves in Africa, mainly Kenya.
Save the Rhino Day at Zoo Atlanta
Zoo Atlanta invites Zoo Members and guests to get involved in rhino conservation at Save the Rhino Day on Saturday, April 30. Highlights will include a Rhino Keeper Talk, family activities, educational games and exclusive Save the Rhino Day buttons. Button proceeds will benefit Save the Survivors, an organization devoted to caring for wild rhinos injured by poaching attempts.