|December 15, 2009 - A new female white rhino is scheduled to arrive at Knoxville Zoo Tuesday morning, and Knoxville Zoo staff hopes she’ll catch the eye of Mondo, the herd’s resident male and potential new mate.
Maggie, a 14-year-old white rhino, is coming to Knoxville Zoo from The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio, on a breeding recommendation from the Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP manages the placement of endangered white rhinos in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and the determination was made that Maggie and Mondo would make a good genetic match. With Maggie’s arrival in Knoxville, the hopes are that nature will take its course.
Maggie will join the zoo’s three other rhinos who have been the foundation of a successful breeding program here in Knoxville. Knoxville Zoo ranks as one of the top zoos in the country for the successful breeding of white rhinos, with more than 25 calves born since the 1970s.
How soon will keepers know if Mondo and his new paramour have hit it off? “Rhino match-making isn’t an exact science,” laughs Lisa New, director of animal collections. “We’ll make the introductions at Maggie’s pace, and then hopefully there will be some interest between Mondo and Maggie. Mondo has been quite successful with the females in the past, and we’re pretty sure he’s still got it.”
After Maggie takes a little time to acclimate to her new home, keepers anticipate she will join the rest of the herd on exhibit in the coming days. Her arrival was made possible by donations given by guests at the zoo’s annual gala fundraiser, Zoofari.
Knoxville Zoo is located off exit 392 from Interstate 40 and is open every day except Christmas Day.
The zoo is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is committed to
the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation, and education. Currently, the
zoo is open everyday from 9:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the
zoo closes. Next-day admission is free after 3:00 p.m. For more information, please call 865-637-5331
ext. 300 or visit www.knoxville-zoo.org