Rhino Takes Lead as Species Survival Ambassador

Zoo Atlanta

Jabari is a two-year-old male eastern black rhinoceros born at Zoo Atlanta. He has left Georgia to play an important role in the preservation of one of the eastern black rhino, one of Earth’s most endangered mammal species. Jabari’s next chapter began May 2, 2016, when he traveled to his new home at Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas. Here, he will be introduced to a female eastern black rhino.

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,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “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.”

Jabari’s move came from a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Rhino Species Survival Plan (SSP). This program works to ensure healthy, genetically diverse, and self-sustaining animal populations within North American zoos. As well as having the highest standards for the scientific management and care of animals, this is a goal that is especially crucial for this critically endangered species.

The decline of the eastern black rhino in the wild is startling. They are only found on preserves, primarily in Kenya. In over just three generations, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports as much as a 90 percent population decline. The illegal hunting of these animals for their horns is a pressing threat to the survival of the species.  Rhino horn is valued as highly as gold on black markets and is used in traditional medicines. However, the horn of a rhino is made of keratin, the same material found in human hair and nails.

Jabari was born on August 17, 2013 and has been living independently from his mother since early November, 2015. In the wild, eastern black rhinos are solitarily animals and are fully weaned from their mothers at about two years old.

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