MEMPHIS, TENN. – The Memphis Zoo is pleased to announce the addition of a pair of Southern white rhinoceroses. The pair, male “Kito” and female “Maggie,” arrived from Knoxville two weeks ago, and are currently on exhibit.
“We are excited to welcome Kito and Maggie to the Memphis Zoo. They come to us from the Knoxville Zoo, and will be a great addition to our animal collection,” Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs said. “They have been getting to know their exhibit and their neighbors [the Zoo’s three African elephants].”
Visitors will be able to see Kito and Maggie on exhibit periodically. They will rotate exhibit space with “Tyranza,” “Asali” and “Gina,” the Zoo’s three African elephants.
Southern white rhinoceroses are one of five rhino species. There are currently around 11,000 Southern white rhinos in the world today, making it the most abundant rhino subspecies. However, they are critically endangered. Rhinos can weigh up to three tons and run up to 30 miles an hour. Although they are called “white” rhinos, there is no distinguishable color differences between them and their cousins, the “black” rhinos. English speakers confused the Afrikaans word “wiet,” meaning wide, and referring to their wide snout, with “white,” the color.
About the Memphis Zoo’s RhinosThe Memphis Zoo is home to two adult rhinoceroses, Kito and Maggie. The pair can be found in the rhino exhibit across from the African Veldt. The Memphis Zoo has kept rhinos in the collection since the mid 1960s. They could originally be seen where CHINA is now, before moving to their current home in the African Veldt.
Kito, the male, was born at Tampa’s Lowery Park Zoo in 2010. Kito, pronounced “key-toe,” is a Swahili word, meaning “precious jewel.” Maggie was born at White Oak, a conservation compound, in Florida.
This is the first breeding pair of rhinos to call the Memphis Zoo home since 1990. “Tombi,” the beloved Southern white rhino died in September 2013, of old age.
About the Memphis ZooThe Memphis Zoo, located in Memphis, Tenn., is home to more than 3,500 animals representing over 500 different species. Recently named as one of the top zoos in the country and world by TripAdvisor® and USA Today’s 10Best, the Memphis Zoo has completed over $93 million in renovation and expansion since the early 1990s. The Zoo's animal inhabitants reside in one-of-a-kind exhibitry, such as Once Upon A Farm, Commercial Appeal Cat Country, Primate Canyon, Animals of the Night, Northwest Passage, Teton Trek and CHINA - home to giant pandas YaYa and Le Le. The Zoo was founded in 1906 and resides on 70 acres in the middle of Overton Park. The Memphis Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Memphis Zoo, YaYa and Le Le are trademarks of the Memphis Zoo.