LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – 10-year-old female eastern black rhino, Andazi, is the Little Rock Zoo’s newest member.
Andazi will join 22-year-old Johari, the Little Rock Zoo’s male black rhino, in the Africa animal exhibit next week.
Andazi was transferred to the Little Rock Zoo from Zoo Atlanta. This was part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Rhino Species Survival Plan. With only an estimated 5,000 black rhinos left in the wild, they are now considered critically endangered, according to AZA.
The goal of the program is to increase the zoological population of many threatened species.
"Shared conservation efforts of this nature are critical to help keep species like the black rhino from going extinct in our lifetime," Little Rock Zoo Director Susan Altrui said. "To be considered for this program speaks highly of our Zoo, and we are thrilled to welcome Andazi to her new home."
The zoo says that introductions will start slowly. Zoo keepers want Andazi to get used to her new home before she meets Johari.
The zoo is also home to many other species on the Species Survival Plan, including gorillas, chimpanzees, and African penguins. The program is in place to help ensure that zoological populations remain “healthy, genetically diverse, and self-sustaining”. The zoo is also part of other conservation efforts including the International Rhino Foundation and Save the Rhino.