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'Beloved' Rhino 'Kendi' Leaving Cincinnati For San Diego

Courtesy of the Cincinnati Zoo.
Kendi, left, gets playful.

The Cincinnati Zoo announced Wednesday that its "beloved black rhino Kendi" would be leaving the zoo for a new home at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where he will be paired with a female "so he can do his part to contribute to the survival of his critically endangered species." 

The move is recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan (SSP), the body that manages animal populations for its member organizations. In San Diego, he will "roam in an expansive, mixed-herd habitat," the Cincinnati Zoo says. 

"Members and staff will be sad to see Kendi go," Zoo Director Thane Maynard says in a statement. "The good news is that he is going to a great facility and will be paired with a female when he's ready to breed. There are fewer than 60 eastern black rhinos in the North American Zoo population, so getting pairs that are good genetic matches together is important." 

Kendi was born at the Cincinnati Zoo in July 2017. The zoo adds the SSP also gave it the green light to breed Kendi's parents, "Seyia" and "Faru," again. 

"Faru has sired two calves, one at the Atlanta Zoo, so we're optimistic about having another calf here," Maynard says. "With a 15-month gestation period, the soonest we could hope to see a little one is next winter." 

For those who may want to say goodbye to Kendi - whose name means "the loved one" in Swahili - the zoo says he will be out in his yard on Thursday, Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Jennifer Merritt brings 15 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU, having served in various digital roles for such legacy publications as InStyle and Parade, as well as start-ups like Levo League and iVillage. She helped these outlets earn several awards, including MIN's 2015 Digital Team of the Year. She graduated from Rutgers University with a journalism major and English minor and has continued her education with professional development classes through the Poynter Institute, Columbia University and PMJA. Before moving to Cincinnati from New York in 2016, she vowed her son would always call it "soda" and not "pop." She has so far been successful in this endeavor.