Niabi Zoo announced the arrival of Kito, a two-year-old male southern white rhinoceros, the first rhino species of any kind to be at the zoo.
Kito will make his debut to the public on Friday.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity to share such an iconic mega vertebrate to the Quad Cities Community, and play a real role in their ongoing conservation efforts” said zoo Director Lee Jackson. “This will be the first time that this or any rhinoceros’ species will have been kept at Niabi, and we are beyond excited to be able to share these magnificent animals with our community. Kito is only the beginning. We hope to have a female join him here by early summer of 2022 with the goal of eventually producing offspring in the future.”
In the early 1990s there were fewer than 50 southern white rhinos left in existence, but through intense conservation efforts, at zoos and in the wild, the population has increased to about 18,000.
Unfortunately its cousins, the northern white rhinos and western black rhinos, became extinct in 2018 and 2011, respectively.
The fundraising campaign to bring rhinos to the Niabi Zoo began in early December 2020. An invitation only event for those who contributed to the campaign will be held on June 22 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
For more information about Niabi Zoo, visit their website.