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Opened in 2020, the Daniel Maltz Rhino Reserve more than doubled the space for the Zoo's Eastern black rhinos, important participants in the Species Survival Plan program.
The Daniel Maltz Rhino Reserve includes a new bull barn just for Forrest, a new yard more than twice the size of the previous outdoor area, and several special enrichment features such as fallen trees, a shade structure with a built-in mister for hot days, heated elements (for our Cleveland winters), drinking troughs and a giant, hinged log that can be pushed or rolled by the rhinos (think rhino tether ball).
A slight incline built into the habitat also allows the possibility of a natural mud wallow to form during rainy days. Rhinos often roll and splash in mud, and mud helps protect their thick skin from sunburn and insect bites.
Space in the old rhino yard has also improved, with the addition of a gate connecting a back yard to the front. Before construction, the rhinos would not have had access to the back yard without keeper assistance. Now this gate can be left open so the females can choose to go outside in one of two yards – and still not interfere with Forrest. For now, the females spend the most time in the old rhino barn and yards while Forrest is getting adjusted to the new habitat, but the design of the Reserve allows the rhinos to be transferred between old and new spaces – adding enrichment opportunities and complexity to their daily routines.
This project would not have been possible without the help of generous individual donors. Cleveland Zoological Society donors fully funded the $2.5 million expansion – a fact not to be overlooked in a year of financial hardship caused by COVID-19 and the three-month closure of the Zoo. The construction took a little less than a year and involved the destruction of Monkey Island.
In honor of Daniel Maltz’s gift, the Reserve is named after him. Equally generous support from The Walter E. and Jean C. Kalberer Foundation funded the project’s Walter Kalberer Bull Barn and Jean Kalberer Rhino Yard.
The rhinos have proven to be a popular stop for the 1.1 million guests who visit the Zoo each year. This project not only expands the rhino yard but it also greatly expands the viewing deck for guests. The new deck more than doubles the space for visitors and is fully accessible for guests of all abilities.
A multi-billion dollar criminal industry, illegal wildlife trade is one of the top threats to wildlife globally, from rhinos to elephants, tigers, and more. The Zoo is working with and supporting more than a dozen partners around the world to intervene and disrupt the illegal wildlife trade chain.
Zoos play an important role in international wildlife conservation efforts. Zoos also have the unique opportunity to educate and inspire guests on how animals they see in their communities are ambassadors for those in the wild. Inge, Kibibbi, Forrest and Nia are all ambassadors for rhinos in the wild and help educate the public about illegal wildlife trade.
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