First black rhino ever born at Potter Park Zoo is being relocated to California

Local News

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The first black rhino ever born at Potter Park Zoo in Lansing will be relocated to a California zoo. Potter Park Zoo is hosting a farewell party for the two-year-old rhino.

Jaali was born in Lansing on Dec. 25, 2019, a milestone event for the park as only 55 black rhinos are cared for at Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facilities. He stayed in Lansing for two years.

In early 2021, a breeding match for Jaali was found by the AZA’s Species Survival Plan. Later this fall a young female from Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will meet Jaali at their new home, The Living Desert Zoo.

“Jaali’s captured all of our hearts over the past two years,” said Pat Fountain, Animal Care Supervisor. “Not only are we excited for his future, but also for the continued black rhino breeding program at Potter Park Zoo.”

Jaali has received a lot of positive attention being featured in the Potter Park Zoo. Staff and visitors adore his joyful energy. Jaali has truly worked up a name for himself and has become a Lansing icon.

In December 2020, the Lansing Lugnuts announced a special Lansing Black Rhinos t-shirt would be sold in honor of Jaali’s first birthday. Half of the proceeds from shirt sales went to the zoo to aid their animal health program.

“We are incredibly grateful our community has embraced Jaali with such enthusiasm. While we will all miss Jaali, we also celebrate as he moves to The Living Desert Zoo where he will continue the growth of a genetically diverse population of rhinos in human care which is critical to the future of black rhinos.”

Zoo Director, Cindy Wagner

For Jaali’s new journey in life, Potter Park Zoo will be hosting a going-away party on Oct. 2 and 3. This gives people the chance to see the beloved rhino one last time and reflect on his best memories at the zoo.

During the event, zookeepers will provide rhino enrichment every two hours, beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m.

Interactive education stations will also be set up and a banner will be displayed for anyone that would like to sign their farewells.

“Whether you’ve been following Jaali’s journey from the beginning or want to meet him for the first time, this is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for,” said Wagner.

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