TULSA, Okla. (Sept. 7, 2018) – A new resident is joining the Tulsa Zoo this week. Male Southern white rhinoceros Rudo arrived at the Tulsa Zoo only weeks before World Rhino Day, celebrated on Sept. 22.
Rudo will be spending his first few weeks in the barn at the Mary K. Chapman Rhino Reserve and will eventually be introduced to Jeannie, our 38-year-old female Southern white rhino.
“The Mary K. Chapman Rhino Reserve was designed to hold new animals before they transition onto the main outdoor, multispecies habitat,” said Zoological Curator-Mammals Jordan Piha. “We have an increased flexibility to section off parts of the nearly 7,000-square-foot barn to accommodate animals at different times, to monitor their health and well-being before introducing them to the exhibit and its current residents, including our female rhino, Jeannie.”
Rudo was born on Jan. 24, 2017, at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo to mother Kayla and father Tim. His name means “love” in Shona, a language primarily spoken in Zimbabwe. He will be a companion to Jeannie following the loss of male Southern white rhino Buzbie in April from cancer and other age-related diseases.
Rudo and Jeannie will eventually form a crash, a term used to describe a group of rhinos. They are important ambassadors for their species, giving guests an opportunity to see rhinos up close and learn about the threats facing the species. An estimated 20,000 white rhinoceroses remain in the wild, but the populations of all five rhinoceros species continue to dwindle at an alarming rate due to poaching. The Tulsa Zoo supports the International Rhino Foundation’s operation, Stop Poaching Now, which works to stop poachers while reducing the supply and demand of rhinoceros horns.
The largest species of land mammal after the elephants, the white rhino is native to Africa. Of the two distinct subspecies of white rhinos, only populations of the Southern white rhino remain in the wild. The Northern white rhino is extinct in the wild due to poaching; only two females remain in human care, on Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.