Just over a century ago, Southern White Rhinoceros were nearly extinct. Now, there's one just a short drive away, at a popular zoo.

Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, Illinois has announced they've welcomed a two-year-old Southern White Rhinoceros named "Kito." He's the first rhino of any type that the zoo has housed.

Niabi Zoo Director Lee Jackson says,

We are absolutely thrilled to be given the opportunity to share such an iconic mega vertebrate to the Quad Cities Community, and play a real role in their ongoing conservation efforts. This will be the first time that this or any rhinoceros’ species will have been kept at Niabi, and we are beyond excited to be able to share these magnificent animals with our community. Kito is only the beginning. We hope to have a female join him here by early summer of 2022 with the goal of eventually producing offspring in the future.

The zoo unveiled the news this morning and also announced that Kito is now greeting visitors at the zoo in Coal Valley, Illinois.

According to the zoo, in the early 20th century, less than 50 Southern White Rhinoceros remained. Thankfully, that has ballooned to approximately 18,000 today. Other species weren't so lucky. Western Black Rhinos became extinct in the wild in 2011 and the Northern White Rhino met the same fate in 2018.

Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines is home to Black Rhinos. A baby named Kamara was born at that zoo in the spring of 2019. You can read that story HERE.

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