The Tulsa Zoo will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday on its first Master Plan project, the Mary K. Chapman Rhinoceros Exhibit.
The $3.1 million exhibit will replace the outdated 38-year-old facility with a naturalistic, state-of-the-art home for the zoo's resident white rhinoceroses, Jeannie and Buzbie.
According to a news release, the new exhibit will offer guests up-close viewing into the rhinoceroses' indoor environment through a 20-foot wide glass viewing window.
The exhibit will consist of a 3 acre yard and an 8,925 square foot barn facility. The barn will have the capacity for harvesting rainwater and have straw bale walls, which are energy efficient.
The Mary K. Chapman Rhinoceros Exhibit will be located in the African Plains area of the zoo, across from the giraffe exhibit.
"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.
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. There are currently only 190 white rhinoceroses in North American accredited AZA institutions, while only 20,000 remain in the wild.
The Mary K. Chapman Rhinoceros Exhibit was funded through a public-private partnership between the City of Tulsa and Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc. and with the support of generous private donors.
The groundbreaking ceremony is Thursday morning.