Thursday, May 19
On April 30, we celebrated Save the Rhino Day at the Zoo. We had a great turnout, with lots of interested guests and button donations that went to Save the Survivors. Save the Survivors is an organization in Africa that cares and looks after rhinos that have been victims of poaching.
The reason we have Save the Rhino Day and other conservation events is to raise awareness of the plight of animals in the wild. Without events like Save the Rhino Day, a lot of people would not know that rhinos are in trouble! In 2015, there were 1,175 rhinos poached in South Africa alone. Eastern black rhinos are down to 5,000-5,400 left in the wild. AZA accredited zoos (Association of Zoos and Aquariums), which Zoo Atlanta is a part of, work together ensure the survival of species that are threatened or endangered through Species Survival Plans. Zoos in North America will bring in or send out animals as part of breeding programs to ensure healthy, genetically diverse and self-sustaining animal populations.
This brings us to Jabari’s story …
Jabari was born at Zoo Atlanta on August 17, 2013, to mother Andazi and father Utenzi. Jabari was the first rhino born at Zoo Atlanta and has spent over the last two years hanging out with mom and receiving lots of love and attention from keepers and guests alike. Utenzi has since left us for Cincinnati, on a breeding recommendation, and now its Jabari’s turn.
On May 2, we sent Jabari to Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas. A month before Jabari left, we received a rhino-size crate that Jabari would travel in. One of the most important things we do at Zoo Atlanta is positive reinforcement training. The goal was to get Jabari comfortable with his crate so he would voluntarily go inside. We spent a lot of time trying to make it seem like home, by putting his diet inside, his favorite treats and lots of browse. Jabari, the rock star that he is, was comfortable enough to go inside the crate to eat in just a few days!
That May 2 morning was very bittersweet for us Hoofstock Keepers. I’ve personally worked with Jabari since he was about 5 months old, but Kim, one of our keepers, was there when Jabari was born, so this day was especially emotional for her. We got Jabari’s crate all decked out with his favorite treats, and he stepped on in by himself and was on his way!
Jabari has since made it safely to Lee Richardson Zoo, where he is getting to know his new keepers, habitat and his new girlfriend Johari. Besides sharing similar names, they share the same birthday, August 17! But Johari is three years older than Jabari!
Jabari and Johari, with the same birthday … sounds like fate to me!
Keeper II, Mammals