The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild.

Monday Minute

Rhino Roadtrip

Erin Scott, Senior Manager, Brand, Marketing and Public Relations August 16, 2021

Last month, we had the amazing opportunity to fly to the Midwest to meet The Living Desert’s newest residents, Jaali and Nia! Equipped with our cameras, notebooks, and smiles, we embarked The Living Desert’s first Rhino Roadtrip!

Bright and early on a hot July morning and filled with anticipation, the Rhino Roadtrip Crew boarded our flight in Palm Springs. Upon landing in Michigan, we picked up our rental car and headed straight for the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, MI. As we entered the rhino barn, Jaali’s gregarious personality immediately greeted us. He was instantly curious about us and welcomed the rubs and scratches we were eager to give. As an adolescent male, he was still sharing the same space as his mom, Doppsee, and we spent the evening with the rhinos and Potter Park’s animal care team learning about Jaali. After spending a couple of days with Jaali we moved on to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to meet and get to know Nia. A true Midwest thunderstorm greeted us in Cleveland. As the sheets of rain came down outside, we were lucky enough to spend some quality time with Nia and her mom, Inge. A smart and friendly 3-year-old black rhino, Nia was interested in us and let us give her some back rubs and face scratches.

Throughout the trip, our team had the unique opportunity to meet with and learn from our professional zoo colleagues. From veterinary care to behavioral training, The Living Desert team soaked up the experiences and information. Although The Living Desert’s animal care team is experienced and knowledgeable about caring for black rhinos, this unique opportunity gave the team more nuance and details about each animal. Ensuring the continuity of care for Jaali and Nia, we made sure to take note of their likes and dislikes, as well as their habits and personalities, which will better prepare us once they arrive this fall.

This Rhino Roadtrip signified more than just the incredible experience of meeting Jaali and Nia before they move to The Living Desert. It also highlights the collaborative and cooperative relationship the 230 Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited organizations share. Together, we are ensuring that the world’s wildlife and wild places don’t disappear. Through the Species Survival Plan, we are ensuring that there is an insurance population of the incredible animals in human care. Through collaborative conservation projects and partners, we work to preserve the habitats and combat the pressures threatening the animals we all love. And through our facilities, we are able to connect our guests with the amazing animals and stories to inspire everyone to become an agent of conservation.

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