Living Desert to celebrate opening of new ‘Rhino Savanna’ Friday

Entertainment

PALM DESERT, Calif. (CNS) – The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens will officially open its Rhino Savanna on Friday.

The 4-acre, $17 million habitat will house 12 African species, including two black rhinos for which the habitat is named. The rhinos, Jaali and Nia, will be the zoo’s largest animals, weighing around 3,000 pounds and standing about 5.5 feet tall at their shoulders once they reach maturity, according to officials.

“This new habitat reflects the successful collaboration of countless entities, including our donors, staff, board members, the Association of Zoo and Aquariums, contractors and many others,” said Allen Monroe, President/CEO of The Living Desert. “This opening also signifies a deep commitment to The Living Desert’s conservation initiatives to protect black rhinos in their native range.”

Black rhinos are currently listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature with only about 5,600 reported in Africa. According to officials, their main threat are humans due to rampant poaching for their horns.

Three-year-old Nia, and Jalli, who turns 2 on Christmas Eve, were matched as breeding partners through the Species Survival Plan and will each have their own distinct space in the habitat due to the species’ typically solitary nature.

The Living Desert is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and more information is available at www.livingdesert.org.

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