Officials were at the Tulsa Zoo Thursday morning to help break ground on a new rhinoceros exhibit opening next spring.
Designed by ONE Architecture, the $3.1 million exhibit will replace the outdated 38-year-old facility with a naturalistic, state-of-the-art home for the zoo's resident white rhinoceroses, Jeannie and Buzbie.
"We're pleased to expand the African Plains area of the zoo with the Mary K. Chapman Rhinoceros Exhibit, a joint project between the City of Tulsa and Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc.," said Terrie Correll, CEO of Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc. "This new habitat will feature not only our white rhinos, but also other African species, such as antelope and zebra upon completion."
The exhibit will consist of a 3 acre yard and an 8,925 square foot barn facility. The rhinos' barn will boast many modern features, including sustainable elements, such as a green roof, rammed earth walls, the capacity for harvesting rainwater and straw bale walls, which are energy efficient.
The exhibit will also offer the Tulsa Zoo the opportunity to add more rhinos with the hopes of one day participating in rhinoceros breeding programs, according to the release. There are currently only 190 white rhinoceroses in North American accredited AZA institutions, while only 20,000 remain in the wild.