Riverbanks Zoo says goodbye to oldest elephants, hello to new rhinos

Published: Jun. 19, 2019 at 4:39 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Two of the oldest elephants at Riverbanks Zoo are headed out to find new homes as officials prepare to welcome a new exhibit.

Currently, zoo officials are working to find a new home for Belle and Robin. Both elephants have been at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden for more than a decade. Belle came to Riverbanks from the Columbus Zoo back in 2001 while Robin arrived at Riverbanks from Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2007.

“The decision to move Robin and Belle was not easy, but it is the right decision for the animals and Riverbanks,” said John Davis, Director of Animal Care and Welfare at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “There is no doubt that Robin and Belle will be missed by our staff, our members, and the community.”

With Robin and Belle leaving Riverbanks, officials will bring Southern white rhinos back to the zoo. The species was last seen at the zoo in 1989.

“We are excited to give our guests the opportunity to connect and interact with these magnificent creatures that, without us, face an uncertain future,” said Thomas Stringfellow, President and CEO of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “By bringing white rhinos back to Riverbanks, we have a great opportunity to contribute to the sustainability of this species.”

The new rhino exhibit is scheduled to open in the summer of 2020.

Here's a look at a rendering of the new rhino exhibit at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.
Here's a look at a rendering of the new rhino exhibit at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.((Source: Riverbanks Zoo and Garden))

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