LANSING, Mich. — The first black rhino born at Potter Park Zoo will move to a new home this fall.
Jaali the black rhino calf will be taken to a new facility later this year where he will be paired with a female rhino for breeding.
The black rhino, a critically endangered species, was a landmark addition to Potter Park Zoo.
Just 5,000 black rhinos are left in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural resources.
Only about 60 are living in accredited zoos across the US.
The organization's communications director Christopher Whitlatch says black rhinos are what wildlife experts call ‘umbrella species.”
“When you’re protecting rhinos, you’re also protecting other animals,” said Whitlatch. “You’re protecting predators like the lion or the hyena or the wild dog or other herbivores like buffalo and giraffes, so it’s very important to the ecosystem to protect large mammals such as this.”
As the wild rhino population continues to shrink, Whitlatch says efforts to preserve the species are critical.
“Rangers are on the frontline doing very hard work to keep those rhinos protected and make sure that balance of new birth can happen and grow that population.”