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'He's settling in really well': Oregon Zoo welcomes critically endangered rhino

King arrived to Portland from Chicago in September. He belongs to the subspecies of black rhinoceros, which is considered critically endangered.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Zoo is home to new royalty. King, an eastern black rhino, arrived to Portland from Chicago's Brookfield Zoo on Sept. 10. The zoo made the announcement in a news release on Oct. 1. 

The 3,000 pound rhino is still adjusting to his new home at the zoo's Rhino Ridge habitat. Visitors may catch a glimpse of him in the outdoor areas of the habitat. 

"If he's outside, he'll be hard to miss," said Kelly Gomez, who oversees the rhino area. "So far, he's settling in really well, with a lot of attention and encouragement from his care staff."

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King is part of the eastern subspecies of black rhinoceros, which is considered critically endangered. The Oregon Zoo said the western species of black rhino was declared extinct in 2011.

"King represents a species that's among the most endangered on the planet," Gomez said. "Poaching and the illegal wildlife trade have wiped out 96% of the world's black rhino population. In South Africa alone, we're losing almost a rhino a day. Hopefully, we can help inspire a new chapter in the conservation of this incredible species."

The rhino was born in 2013 at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and moved to the Brookfield Zoo in 2016. A program called the Species Survival Plan recommended that King be transferred to the Oregon Zoo. The program helps manage threatened and endangered species at zoos and aquariums.

The Oregon Zoo said a female rhinoceros is set to join King at Rhino Ridge sometime this fall.


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