LANSING, Mich. — Lansing's very own celebrity black rhino Jaali is leaving Potter Park Zoo this month and heading a place with sunnier skies.
"So, Jaali is leaving us later this month to go to the Living Desert in California, where he'll be paired with another female black rhino to hopefully, eventually produce offspring of their own," said Ashleigh Winkelmann, rhino caretaker at Potter Park Zoo.
Jaali was born at Potter Park Zoo on Dec. 24, 2019. It was a Christmas miracle, hence his name. Only about three black rhinos are born in the U.S. each year, all in Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos like Potter Park Zoo.
"Jaali has just been such a joy for us just getting to watch him grow up has just been so amazing," Winkelmann said. "Like, one of the highlights of my career."
Jaali's mom, Doppsee, is staying at Potter Park Zoo.
"We've been working really hard to help them with separation already, so they are used to being separated for quite a long period of time. So they are ready to move in that direction, so it will not be a sudden separation," Winkelmann said. "Both of them do really well by themselves."
But, Doppsee and Finnea, Jaali's dad, have been recommended by the Species Survival Plan to breed again.
"We have begun introductions already. So we are hopeful that she will produce another calf," Winkelmann said.
You can still say goodbye to Jaali at Potter Park Zoo this weekend.
"We have this sign that people can sign just to, like, say goodbye to him. And then we're also providing enrichment throughout the day so people can really see them interact with the enrichment and get an up-close look at both Jaali and Doppsee," Winkelmann said.
You can wish Jaali bon voyage on Sunday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
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