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Grand opening of the Rhino Savanna at the Living Desert


You can now go see the two new rhinos and various different species at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert.

Friday marked the grand opening of the long-awaited expansion, Rhino Savanna.

The four-acre habitat is the new home of Nia (pronounced Ny-a) and Jaali (pronounced Jolly), the two African black rhinos.

MORE: How do you get two rhinos across the country? The Living Desert shares details of the 10-state trek

The new habitat will also be home to 12 African species, including a waterbuck, springbok, two species of pelicans and a variety of other birds, plus fascinating subterranean animals such as the naked mole-rat, among others.

The project finally came to fruition after years of hard work with approximately $17 million raised.

"We have been working for the last two to three years to do the design work, the construction and now today we are able to welcome the public in here and see these amazing animals on our rhino savannah and meet Jaali and Nia and learn more about their conservation stories we are here to tell," said Allen Monroe, president and CEO of the Living Desert.

Black rhinos are listed as critically endangered. Zoo officials hope to help increase the population of the species right here at home.

The Living Desert is open every day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Click here to buy tickets. All general admission tickets must be purchased in advance.

LIVE CAMERA: Rhino Savanna


Jaali was born December 24, 2019 to mother, Doppsee, and father, Phineus, and his birth marked the first rhino birth at the Potter Park Zoo in its 100-year history. Jaali means “powerful” in Swahili, and according to his animal care team at Potter Park Zoo, he is very curious and loves attention.  Jaali is coming from the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing, Michigan.

Nia, meaning “purpose” in Swahili, was born August 20, 2018 to mother, Inge, and father, Forrest. Her animal care team has shared that Nia is very intelligent and eager to learn and participate in her husbandry training. Nia will be arriving from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland, Ohio.

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