Credit: Sal Cavazos

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens’ Rhino Savanna Habitat Is Now Open!

An Inside Look at the New Rhino Habitat in Greater Palm Springs

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is one of the top attractions in the Coachella Valley, bringing joy to people of all ages and offering up-close views of hundreds of desert-dwelling species. The immersive experiences of feeding the giraffes, cozying up to the wallabies in barrier-free Australia, petting dwarf goats from African village WaTuTu, boarding a carousel ride and exploring botanical gardens delightfully transports visitors to different continents. Rhino Savanna Habitat

The rhinos have gloriously arrived at their new four-acre home: The Living Desert Zoo’s all-new Rhino Savanna Habitat. Every detail was thoughtfully planned to create a safe environment, resembling their ancestors’ home in Africa, including similar flora, shade, ponds, rolling hills and co-habitants. Having relocated from the midwest, Jaali (pronounced “jolly”) is a male black rhino turning two on Dec. 24, and Nia (“nye-uh”) is a 3-year-old female black rhino. They have been explorative and playful, including bouts of “the zoomies” and a love of self-care mud bath immersions. They also have new friends living with them harmoniously on the tranquil savanna, including exotic pelicans, storks and antelopes.

Black rhinos naturally live independently in the wild and are critically endangered with only 5,600 remaining in Africa. The primary threat to their survival is human poaching for their horns, which are sadly used as symbols of wealth or mythical cures. Their horns are keratin-based, the exact derivative of human hair and nails, and do not distinguish themselves by containing any exclusive ingredients. The horns are sensitive and an integral part of their survival, used for defending their young, standing their ground against predators, foraging for water and behavioral functions as well. Rhino Savanna Habitat

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert is a nonprofit, accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, ensuring superior standards of animal care, conservation, education, public service and continuous efforts to proliferate endangered animals from desert areas from around the world.

Visitors often say, seeing the animals here feels like stepping onto the set of The Lion King. The desert animals roam free with little inhibition while visitors can roam the 50 gardens filled with 1,400 different plant and animal species in what’s undoubtedly the best desert-themed zoo in America. Hakuna Matata translates from Swahili as “no worries” and is a perfect sentiment to describe Nia and Jaali’s new home!

Local Insight: The Living Desert proudly collaborates with the Black Mambas, a woman-operated anti-poaching troupe from Africa. They successfully work together with their boots on the ground to protect and prevent 60% of African rhinos from being harmed. Rhino Savanna Habitat

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
47900 Portola Ave
Palm Desert, CA 92260




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