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Welcome Kiazi the Southern White Rhino

19-year-old female from San Diego has been recommended to join male Zoo member Mumbles

Zoo Atlanta received some very special cargo on October 11, 2021, with the arrival of Kiazi, a 19-year-old female southern white rhinoceros. Kiazi comes to Zoo Atlanta most recently from the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance in California. Her move to Atlanta was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) White Rhino Species Survival Plan® (SSP).

Kiazi, whose name means “sweet potato,” was recommended by the SSP to join Mumbles, the 10-year-old male southern white rhino who joined the Zoo Atlanta population in 2020 on the heels of the opening of the Zoo’s new African Savanna complex. Kiazi will have an opportunity to settle in inside the indoor portion of her new home before exploring her outdoor habitat and being visible to Zoo Members and guests.

“We are so excited to welcome Kiazi to Zoo Atlanta,” said Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD, Vice President of Collections and Conservation. “Rhinos are animals with an urgent conservation message. We want our Members and guests to get to know Kiazi – and, if they have not already been permanently charmed by him, Mumbles – so that they can understand the things they can do in their daily lives to preserve these extraordinary animals in the wild.”

White rhinos, which are the largest of the five rhino species, are not actually white, despite their name. The moniker is believed to have originated with the Afrikaans word wyd, meaning “wide” – a reference to the shape of white rhinos’ upper lips.

While poaching for their horns is a serious issue for all rhinos and has already resulted in the extinctions and near-extinctions of some species, southern white rhinos are especially vulnerable because they often travel in herds in the wild, a behavior that makes it easier for poachers to locate them. Powdered rhino horn is believed by some cultures to possess medical properties, although rhino horns are made of keratin – the same substance found in human hair and fingernails – and have no known medicinal value.

Stay tuned for updates on when visitors will be able to see Kiazi, and learn more about the Zoo’s animals, mission, and programs at


Rachel Davis
Director of Communications
404.624.2812 – office
404.309.2238 – cell

Gavin Johnson
Public Relations and Communications Specialist
404.624.5980 – office

About Zoo Atlanta
A proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for animal care and welfare, Zoo Atlanta has a mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education, and engaging experiences. The Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them endangered or critically endangered. Highlights include giant pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, the only giant panda twins in the U.S.; one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Recent transformations include the all-new African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, warthogs, meerkats, and rhinos; Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination in the newly restored historic former home of the Atlanta Cyclorama; and the new Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Plaza. For more information, visit

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