Rhinos exhibit opens in Sioux Falls

The Rare Rhinos of Africa exhibit, pictured here, is now open at the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum in Sioux Falls. (Photo courtesy of South Dakota Tourism)

The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History has opened a new, state-of-the-art “Rare Rhinos of Africa” exhibit designed to engage and excite visitors about rhinos, conservation and Africa, according to a news release from the state Office of Tourism.

The Eastern Black Rhinos that call the Great Plains Zoo home are only two (a breeding pair) of 60 of the rare rhinos in the entire United States. The Eastern Black Rhino is an extremely endangered species. It is estimated that fewer than 4,000 of the species survive in the wild.
 
The exhibit is intended to allow visitors to interact and immerse themselves in learning about these animals. “Through the educational components in this exhibit, our guests are able to learn about the plight of the endangered Eastern Black Rhino and why our help is needed to keep this species from extinction,” said Elizabeth A. Whealy, President and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo.
 
The exhibit is complete with interactive kiosks, touch panels to feel a rhino horn, ears that allow guests to learn about a rhino’s super sense of hearing, and other engaging elements.
 
“We hope to generate a passion that ensures the Eastern Black Rhinos survive, and that future generations see these animals, rather than just read about another extinct species in a textbook,” noted Whealy.
 
“Rare Rhinos of Africa” has changed the way the visitors view animals from simply seeing an animal in an exhibit to allowing a complete interactive and engaging experience. Visitors will have the opportunity to feel as though they stepped from South Dakota straight into Africa.
 
The exhibit at the Great Plains Zoo includes two outdoor exhibit yards that allows the pair of rhinos, or a family of three, to roam and run in the grass, wallow in the mud, and snack on browse comfortably together. The innovative “rhino-day room” allows visitors to see the training Zookeepers interact and take care of the rhinos year-round.

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association’s Better Newspapers Contest. Seth’s day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota’s state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.

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