Tulsa Zoo to unveil plans for Rhino enclosure

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Drawing of new rhino exhibit at Tulsa Zoo.
Drawing of new rhino exhibit at Tulsa Zoo.
Updated: 3/04/2013 11:18 am Published: 3/04/2013 11:15 am

The Tulsa Zoo announced on Monday construction will begin construction on its first Master Plan project: the Mary K. Chapman Rhinoceros Exhibit.

Designed by ONE Architecture, the $3.1 million exhibit will replace the outdated 38-year-old facility with a naturalistic, state-of-the-art home for the zoo’s resident white rhinoceroses, Jeannie and Buzbie.

The new exhibit will include up-close viewing into the rhinoceroses’ indoor environment through a 20-foot wide glass viewing window, a 3 acre yard and an 8,925 square foot barn facility. The rhinos’ barn will boast many modern features, including sustainable elements, such as a green roof, rammed earth walls, the capacity for harvesting rainwater and straw bale walls, which are energy efficient.

“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. “This new habitat will feature not only our white rhinos, but also other African species, such as antelope and zebra upon completion. It will provide a quality guest experience for learning about rhinos, as well as a state of the art animal facility. This new habitat is the first of several new exhibits that will transform the African section of the zoo.”

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 zoo will showcase a model of the exhibit at a ground breaking ceremony on March 7th. 

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