Zoo Atlanta Welcomes Southern White Rhino To Savanna Habitat

Oct 13, 2021 by apost team

Zoo Atlanta got a new resident in October 2021 when Kiazi, a southern white rhinoceros, moved into the savanna habitat. Kiazi is a 19-year-old female that was recommended to join Mumbles, a male southern white rhino already living at Zoo Atlanta. The zoo sent out a press release to inform the public of Kiazi’s arrival and to share how she is settling in. 

Kiazi, whose name translates to “sweet potato,” will have the opportunity to get used to her indoor surroundings before moving to an area outside where she will be visible to the public. The rhino’s most recent home was the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance in California. The decision to move her to Georgia was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The association made this recommendation as part of their White Rhino Species Survival Plan. 

The southern white rhinoceros is the more popular subspecies of the two types of white rhinoceros. The other is the rare northern white rhino. Population estimates for the southern white rhinoceros are between 19,682 and 21,077 based on a census from 2015. This makes them the most abundant species of rhino in the world by far. Rhinos are one of the most endangered animals on the planet and are at high risk of poaching.

Zoo Atlanta welcomed their 10-year-old male southern white rhino, Mumbles, in 2020. The zoo hopes that teaching the public about white rhinos and introducing them to Kiazi and Mumbles will help conservation efforts. Zoo Atlanta wishes the same for their entire African Savanna complex. Keep reading to learn more. 

Zoo Atlanta sent out a press release welcoming Kiazi, the southern white rhinoceros. Jennifer Mickelberg, PhD, Vice President of Collections and Conservation said, "We are so excited to welcome Kiazi to Zoo Atlanta. 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."

Southern white rhinos being an abundant species comes with some drawbacks in the wild. An Instagram post from Zoo Atlanta said: “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.” The herds are also at higher risk of habitat loss. 

The desire for rhino horns is prevalent in some cultures, which adds to the risk of poaching as well. The post also stated, “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.” 

The zoo asks guests to do what they can to help conservation efforts at home and recommends visiting the organization’s web page for more information on Kiazi and the rest of their animals as well.


Would you want to visit Kiazi at Zoo Atlanta? Let us know and be sure to send this information along to your friends and family that love rhinos. 

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