BALTIMORE, MD – On September 28, 2020, Stubby, the Maryland Zoo’s 27-year-old southern white rhinoceros, will be moving from Baltimore to a private facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Stubby has lived in the African Watering Hole at the Zoo for 23 years, and is well known for rolling his massive 2,500 pound body in the mud wallow to the delight of Zoo visitors and staff.

“For most of his years at the Zoo, Stubby had a rhino companion. For the past year, he has been on his own while we have been in discussions with the Southern White Rhino Species Survival Plan (SSP) to determine the best course of action to ensure his continued welfare,” stated Erin Grimm, mammal collection and conservation manager at the Zoo. “Earlier this year the SSP and the Zoo decided that Stubby would move to a private wildlife conservancy in Florida that cares for a large crash of southern white rhinos. (Editor’s note – A group of rhinos is called a crash.) However, due to COVID-19 and hot summer temperatures, we had to delay the move until now. While he will be greatly missed, in his new home he will have the opportunity to breed with the females in the crash. This is a significant and positive development not only for Stubby, but also for his species.”

Southern white rhinos are classified as “near threatened” by the IUCN, the world’s leading conservation organization. Their numbers have improved significantly since the early 20th century when they were thought to be extinct, but their future in the wild is far from guaranteed.

“We encourage everyone to come out to the Zoo during the next 10 days to say farewell to Stubby,” continued Grimm. “It will be bittersweet for all of us, but we are excited for him to become a vital part of the crash in his new home.”

For those who may not be able to visit Stubby in person, the Zoo has developed a limited time only virtual behind-the-scenes experience to see Stubby up-close — see his skin, his horn and even inside of his mouth, while also learning about rhino conservation efforts. Zoo staff will discuss what goes into providing top notch animal care, how zoos move such large animals to another facility and see how Stubby’s animal care team is training him to get ready for his move.

“This limited time virtual Stubby Behind-The-Scenes tour is a unique opportunity for guests to support the Zoo’s animal welfare efforts while connecting on a truly personal level with Stubby before he moves,” said Grimm. “Most people have never been able to look deep inside of a rhino’s mouth or see the hair on the tips of his ear before, so now is their chance to experience this incredible animal in a new and exciting way.”

There will be three tours offered next week with limited space available in each tour:

  • Tuesday, September 22 at 10:00 am,
  • Wednesday, September 23 at 3:00 pm, and
  • Thursday, September 24 at 9:30 am.

Each tour is $29 per device, with all proceeds going directly to support animal care.

“We will continue our conservation commitment to the white rhino species,” concluded Grimm. “After Stubby leaves, two young white rhino males will arrive to take up residence in the African Watering Hole. As per usual protocol, the rhinos will undergo 30-day quarantine before being introduced to the zebra, ostrich and the public. We will certainly provide additional information on the new rhino after they have arrived at the Zoo.”

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