Rhino Moves Away From Great Plains Zoo
by Joel Young, Meteorologist/Reporter
December 06, 2012 7:34 PM
If you’ve been to the Great Plains Zoo recently, you may have noticed that one of the zoo’s main attractions was missing.
One of the zoo’s most popular animals just recently left his home in Sioux Falls to branch out, leaving his mom and dad behind.
Just like us human beings, even rhinos eventually have to move on to bigger and better things. You may remember only two years ago, a rare black rhino calf named Kiano was born at the Great Plains Zoo making him the second baby calf born to his parents, Jubba and Imara.
This past Monday, the time finally came for Kiano to say goodbye to his family and his fans all over the Sioux Empire to begin the next chapter of his life.
“After a couple of years, rhino calves are weined from their mom and they can move on and start making new relationships with a new mate and so in the next few years, we hope that Kiano becomes a dad,” says Elizabeth Whealy of the Great Plains Zoo.
Now, Kiano is residing at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines where he will hopefully find a girlfriend and live happily ever after.
Zoo officials say that although it's hard to see animals like Kiano go, i's part of their job to make sure these animals live as naturally as possible.
“Zoos throughout the country work together on species survival, and so for these very important species like the rhinos; we all look together at the very best pairings to make more rhinos,” says Whealy.
As for Jubba and Imara, other than dealing with a little empty nest syndrome; they're expected to do just fine. In fact, more baby rhinos aren't necessarily out of the question.
“The parents are in their mid teens so we have every opportunity to continue on with the family and certainly Imara has been a wonderful mother of two calves and we’re looking forward to an addition to the family at some point,” says Whealy.
Hopefully continuing the zoo’s mission of protecting endangered species like the Eastern Black Rhinos right here in South Dakota.
This particular species of rhinos is one of 17 endangered species bred at the Great Plains Zoo, and in just a few months; the zoo plans on adding to that. Shortly after the first of the year, the zoo will be welcoming a large family of snow monkeys, which will go on exhibit in the spring.