Riverbanks Zoo welcomes two rhinos to brand new habitat

Visitors can help save the threatened species.
Eight-year-old Kande and 2-year-old Winnifred came to Riverbanks Zoo in June.
Eight-year-old Kande and 2-year-old Winnifred came to Riverbanks Zoo in June.(Riverbanks Zoo and Garden)
Updated: Aug. 19, 2020 at 1:15 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Two southern white rhinoceros have a new home at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia.

The females, 8-year-old Kande and 2-year-old Winnifred, arrived in late June from other zoos and have been getting used to their new home and to each other.

Now, Riverbanks Zoo visitors can see the rhinos in their habitat.

“Learning a new environment is a delicate process for animals as well as their zookeepers, and we always move at the animal’s pace,” said John Davis, director of animal care and welfare at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “For the next several days, our visitors might occasionally see Kande and Winnifred on the rhino yard for brief periods until the two have fully acclimated to their new surroundings.”

🤫 Look who's been exploring! Kande and Winnifred have been checking out their new habitat in the morning before park...

Posted by Riverbanks Zoo and Garden on Tuesday, August 18, 2020

It’s been more than 30 years since the zoo had southern white rhinos.

The females will soon be joined by a male rhino, Bill, who is 15 years old, zoo officials said. Bill will come from the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, New York sometime this fall.

Kande, Winnifred and Bill will form a family group as part of the survival plan for the species.

Southern white rhinos are threatened, especially by illegal hunting. There is a high demand for rhino horn for commercial and medical use, zoo officials said.

  • second largest land mammal (behind elephants)
  • can weigh up to 6,000 lbs and measure up to 6-feet tall
  • able to run upwards of 30 mph
  • can live to 40 years old
  • herbivores who mainly eat grasses
  • about 18,000 left in the wild
  • the most social of the rhino species

While there are about 18,000 southern white rhinos left in the wild, northern white rhinos are extinct because of poaching, according to the International Rhino Foundation.

Riverbanks Zoo officials say just visiting the zoo can help conservation efforts for these animals and others who need help.

Guests who want to see the rhinos will enjoy a brand new exhibit with an elevated pavilion where they can experience the animals up-close.

The zoo is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors must get a ticket with a timed entry. For more info, click or tap here.

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