Rhinos Get Upgraded Home At Tulsa Zoo

Thursday, November 13th 2014, 7:59 pm
By: News On 6

Thursday's grand opening of the new rhino exhibit at the zoo has a lot of people very excited.

There's grass growing on the roof, heat coming from the floor and the rhinos seem very happy with their new digs.

Lots of people were at the zoo - despite the cold - for the official ribbon cutting, opening the $3.5 million rhino exhibit.

It's the first new exhibit in the zoo's 20 year plan, and generally speaking, it's a great day to be a rhino at the Tulsa Zoo.

"This barn is 7,000 square feet and the old one about 1,000 square feet," said Joe Barkowski.

The old one was pretty much just a barn, but the new one is much more open, more energy efficient and there is room enough for more rhinos if we ever got more.

Right now we have two Southern White Rhinos - Busby, and his pal Jeanie - they've been here more than 30 years.

"White Rhinos are grazers. They'd be living on the fields of Africa grazing on the grasses that are out there, and that's what they'll be doing in our outdoor exhibits, eating all the great grass that's been planted for them," Barkowski said.

Windows were added to the new exhibit so even when the rhinos are inside we'll be able to press our noses to the glass and see the animals inside.

"No one talks about the animals they don't see, they talk about the animals they did see," Barkowski said.

The next big project at the Tulsa Zoo will be something called “The Lost Kingdom.” It will feature animals from Asia and ground will be broken for that next year.