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SOS Rhino : In the News : Potter Park's rhino to get a new friend

Potter Park's rhino to get a new friendo

  Zoo officials hoping incoming male can get Ebony pregnant

By Sally Trout
Lansing State Journal

Potter Park Zoo's 3,000-pound male black rhino, Jimma, has been moved to the Cleveland Zoo in hopes that a different male rhino might help Lansing's only female, Ebony, have a baby.

Spike is expected to arrive this summer.

Jimma's move took a year to plan, some special training for him, a heavy-duty forklift and 10 workers to make things go smoothly.

NES Rentals of Lansing brought in a forklift capable of hoisting the endangered animal and his 2,000-pound crate last week.

The living cargo was then carried from the exhibit area to a special transport truck for the 300-mile trek.

Upon arrival in Cleveland, Jimma calmly walked out of his crate, rested a short time and then started eating - key signs that the move worked out well.

"I am extremely proud of our staff for pulling off this very difficult task with no hitches," said Gerald Brady, Potter Park Zoo director.

Potter Park Zoo is part of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's Species Survival Program, which promotes a selective breeding program for endangered species.

Jimma and Ebony were expected to mate - but they didn't.

"Jimma and Ebony had never been used for breeding before and the Species Survival Program, wanted them paired with experienced mates," said Tara Harrison, Potter Park Zoo veterinarian and curator.

So Spike, a 14-year-old veteran, is expected to arrive in Lansing in six to eight weeks as a new companion for Ebony.

If she becomes pregnant, a baby rhino likely would be born in 18 months.

Rhinos typically have single births, and the young weigh 50 to 100 pounds.

There are just 70 rhinos in the United States and few left in the wild.

The animals are hunted for their horns, which then are sold for medicinal uses.

Potter Park Zoo is the smallest zoo in the nation to have a pair of black rhinos.

Contact Sally Trout at 377-1040 or

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