New rhino roams the ridge at Oregon Zoo

New rhino roams the ridge at Oregon Zoo

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Zoo is inviting all to hail the king. Well, more like to come visit “King.” 

King, a 3,000-pound rhinoceros from Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, moved to the Oregon Zoo on Sept. 10 and has been making himself at home at the zoo’s new Rhino Ridge for the last few weeks. 

Guests can spot King in the outdoor portion of the habitat while he explores his new environment. 

“If he’s outside, he’ll be hard to miss,” said Kelly Gomez, who oversees the zoo’s rhino area. “So far, he’s settling in really well, with a lot of attention and encouragement from his care staff.” 

King belongs to the critically endangered easter subspecies of black rhinoceros. In 2011, the western subspecies of black rhinoceros was declared extinct. 

“King represents a species that’s among the most endangered on the planet,” Gomez said. “Poaching and the illegal wildlife trade have wiped out 96% of the world’s black rhino population. In South Africa alone, we’re losing almost a rhino a day.” 

Gomez hopes King will help inspire a new chapter in conservation efforts for the species. 

King was born at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo in 2013 and moved to the Brookfield Zoo in 2016. The Species Survival Plan for black rhinos recommended his transfer to Portland. The plan is a cooperative program among accredited zoos to promote genetically diverse, self-sustaining populations of threatened and endangered species. 

The Oregon Zoo said a female rhinoceros is expected to join King at Rhino Ridge later in the fall. 

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