A white rhino will arrive at the Sacramento Zoo next year as a preview of rare and endangered species that will be housed in a new facility as zoo officials continue to work on plans for a potential move to Elk Grove.
The planning process for the new zoo’s resident animals is taking years, zoo officials said in a news bulletin on Tuesday. It’s been a year since the zoo announced a partnership with the city of Elk Grove to pursue the potential move of the Sacramento land park location.
Information sessions were held at Elk Grove for residents and city staff to discuss the proposed zooits design, transport plans and other updates.
Zoo and city staff worked with SHR Studios, a zoo design company, to develop a concept plan for the new zoo with a phased approach to building the facility with a series of “extensive, modern animal habitats and a variety of unique guest experiences,” zoo officials said in the bulletin.
The concept plan with artist renderings should be published on the zoo’s website towards the end of this month. Zoo officials said the overall project was still several years away from a potential opening and the next step would be a thorough environmental review.
The new zoo will focus on supporting several populations of rare and endangered species that are good candidates for the new zoo depending on the climate and topography of the site.
Zoo officials said one of the species selected for the new zoo is the white rhino, a species facing challenges in Africa due to poaching for their horns. The white rhino is the largest of the five rhino species and has an adult population of just over 10,000 individuals in Africa.
Zoo staff are currently working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to determine which white rhinos will move to the Sacramento Zoo next year. The rhino will be housed in the habitat that has recently housed eastern bongos that have moved to other institutions as part of the recommendations of the Species Survival Plan.
“The Sacramento Zoo has never housed a rhino before, and we can’t wait to welcome one to Sacramento,” zoo officials said in the newsletter. “Our facilities department has already started work on the rhino habitat, but we don’t have a definitive timeline for when the animal will arrive and when the exhibit will open.”