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Zoo Atlanta gets a new rhinoceros

Mumbles, a southern white rhinoceros came from the Houston Zoo in Texas and arrived at Zoo Atlanta Wednesday. He is a 9-year-old male and currently weighs 4,300 pounds. He is the first of his species in Atlanta. Mumbles will stay indoors for two weeks before he goes on public view. (Tyson Horne / tyson.horne@ajc.com)

Mumbles, a 4,300-pound southern white rhinoceros, is the newest addition to the African Savanna habitat at Zoo Atlanta.

The 9-year-old male arrived at the zoo Wednesday. He will stay off exhibit in the indoor portion of the rhino habitat for about two weeks before he ventures outdoors.

During that time he will not be visible to visitors.

The rhino will eventually top out at 5,000 pounds.

This is the first southern white rhino in the Zoo Atlanta collection. He comes from the Houston Zoo in Texas. His move to Atlanta was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) White Rhino Species Survival Plan.

The zoo previously was home to eastern black rhinos, but those animals were placed in other zoos around three years ago.

All rhinoceros species are endangered due to poaching and habitat destruction. The southern white rhino is particularly vulnerable because they often travel in herds in the wild, making it easier for illegal hunters to locate them.

After being closed for two months due to the coronavirus crisis, Zoo Atlanta reopened to the public on Saturday, with new protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Mumbles, a two-ton southern white rhinoceros, arrived at Zoo Atlanta Wednesday. CONTRIBUTED: ZOO ATLANTA
Mumbles, a two-ton southern white rhinoceros, arrived at Zoo Atlanta Wednesday. CONTRIBUTED: ZOO ATLANTA

“We are thrilled, at long last, to welcome our first southern white rhino to Atlanta,” said Hayley Murphy, deputy director at Zoo Atlanta.

The African Savanna complex, which opened last summer, is home to African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, warthogs and meerkats.

The rhino habitat has been re-engineered from the area previously home to elephants Kelly and Tara.

Those two female elephants were joined by male Msholo in the new elephant complex last summer.