TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Caldwell Zoo has announced the return of rhinos to their animal family.

“All of us are very happy to accept this amazing animal. Kiano came to us from the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa. He’s strong, healthy and a really impressive animal. Such a great an ambassador for his species.”

Scotty Stainback // Curator of Mammals

The Caldwell Zoo has a long history of caring for rhinos. The team of keepers have decades of experience and there’s a custom made habitat, built specifically to house these strong animals.

Back in April of last year, the zoo lost Christa who was the oldest living black rhino in all of North America at the time, and said in a statement that “…in honor of Christa, we will still remain steadfast in the mission to help preserve wildlife.”

Steve Marshall, President and CEO of the Caldwell Zoo gives some insight to this special news. 

“The black rhinoceros is critically endangered in the wild,” Marshall said. “So, it’s important that we do everything we can to help these magnificent animals. Poaching has decimated the wild population. As a member of AZA (the Association of Zoos and Aquariums) we work closely with zoos all around the country to help endangered species. Kiano is a wonderful representative for zoos working together to make a difference. He is certainly captivating and he’ll help bring awareness to the challenges rhinos face in the wild. Together we can help endangered species through careful breeding programs and conservation efforts around the globe.”

Kiano is now 12 years old, which is mature for a black rhino.  He was born in 2010, the progeny of a breeding program at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He, in turn, has also contributed to a breeding program and has sired two offspring.

It takes time for an animal like Kiano to get settled into a new home. So, the keeper team does everything possible to allow him to adjust and relax. After an initial quarantine period, he is given full range to his new habitat.

The zoo announced that Kiano has settled in nicely and he’s ready for guests to come visit and be awed by this iconic animal.