CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo announced plans Thursday that will significantly expand the rhinoceros’ habitat in the zoo’s African Savanna destination.
An additional outdoor rhino yard will more than double the size of the habitat for the critically endangered eastern black rhino herd of five.
The expansion will also include an additional indoor rhino barn as well as several new complexities within the habitat for the rhinos including overhead shade and misting areas, a mud wallow, vegetation and rubbing posts.
It also includes a new and substantially larger viewing deck that will be accessible to zoo visitors.
“Cleveland Metroparks has had tremendous success in breeding critically endangered Eastern black rhinos including the birth of two rhino calves in 2018,” said Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director Dr. Chris Kuhar, PhD.
“This expansion will better equip us to care for our rhino herd as we work to protect one of the world’s most critically endangered species.”
The new rhino yard and additional barn will replace the former Monkey Island exhibit that was recently removed. The Colobus monkeys formerly housed there now reside in a nearby habitat that offers them more space to climb.
“While Monkey Island was a popular exhibit when it first opened, the structure was more than 85 years old and no longer met our internal standards for animal habitats,” said Kuhar.
The rhino yard expansion will be funded jointly by Cleveland Metroparks and the Cleveland Zoological Society, the nonprofit partner of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The Zoo Society will provide $1.25 million for construction of the new habitat.
Construction on the new rhino habitat will begin in fall 2019 and is expected to be completed in spring 2020.