Endangered Black Rhino Celebrates 2nd Birthday at Living Desert
Jaali, the male eastern black rhino now residing in The Living Desert’s expansive, multi-species new Rhino Savanna habitat, celebrates his 2nd birthday this Friday, December 24 with a quiet serenade of friends, birthday cake banana party and a special virtual event to advance black rhino conservation efforts.
In honor of the occasion, The Living Desert is hosting a fundraiser for one of its global conservation partners, Ol Pejet Conservatory, which over the past decade has helped rejuvenate Kenya’s black rhino population while expanding their protected areas.
The event will be broadcast this Friday on all of The Living Desert’s social networks and will continue until Thursday, December 31.
For more information on how to help raise funds for Jaali’s birthday to benefit the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, visit Facebook.com/TheLivingDesert.
“Jaali was born on Christmas Eve 2019, his name meaning ‘mighty’ in Swahili,” said RoxAnna Breitigan, director of animal care. “Since their introduction to Rhinoceros savannah habitat in October, Jaali and her female counterpart, Nia, are really thriving. These two have been strategically paired and we have high hopes for their future breeding success here at The Living Desert. ”
Jaali (pronounced “Cheerful”) arrived from Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, MI, with 3-year-old Nia (pronounced “Does not have”) from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland, OH. Their arrivals were based on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) breeding recommendations set out earlier this year.
The $ 17 million, four acres Rhinoceros savannah open in November this year with cutting edge features that ensure animal welfare including wide grasslands, rock terraces, mudflat and waterhole. A multitude of springboks, waterbucks, pelicans and mongooses join the black rhinos.
To learn more about Rhinoceros savannah, visit LivingDesert.org/Rhino.
The black rhino is currently listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Critically Endangered, numbering less than 5,600 across Africa. Native to savannas and grasslands, they eat trees and shrubs, have distinctive features including two horns, a prehensile lip, large cone-shaped ears and thick skin, with mature adults weighing over 3,000 pounds . Unfortunately, their main threats are humans, and in particular the widespread poaching for their horns as status symbols and for ill-perceived medicinal uses.
“As a leader in conservation efforts, The Living Desert supports many projects to help rebuild black rhino populations in Africa,” said Dr James Danoff-Burg, Director of Conservation. “We are partnering with organizations to support innovative anti-poaching efforts, engaging in education and community empowerment programs, while also combating illegal wildlife trafficking in Africa and here at home. . ”
To learn more about The Living Desert’s conservation efforts, visit livingdesert.org/conservation/.
The Living Desert is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the gardens and gardens open at 8 a.m. Some attractions require additional charges. Buy your tickets in advance online at LivingDesert.org or by calling (760) 346-5694.