New baby rhino seen by crowds for first time as Fresno Chaffee Zoo makes changes

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A 310 pound baby rhino chased his mother across the fields of the African savannah Tuesday as a crowd gathered to see the little guy for the first time. (KFSN)

A 310 pound baby rhino chased his mother across the fields of the African savanna Tuesday as a crowd gathered to see the little guy for the first time.

This savanna is right in the middle of Fresno, and Chaffee Zoo guests came away impressed.

"He has the cutest little face I've ever seen. No horn, just a little bump and he trots really fast," said Gayle Neal Johnson, Fresno.

The six-week-old is nameless so far, but zoo guests are working on it. Every coin dropped in one of six choices is a vote for a name, and a dollar for rhino conservation.

The new guy is one of about 20,000 southern white rhinos around the world right now. Not far away from his new home, you can see some of the constant zoo improvements.

A new tiger exhibit is one of the new attractions coming to the African Adventure and in the original zoo area, Grizzly Falls are dropping.

"It's actually going to have a waterfall right here. The kids can get under a waterfall," said Scott Barton, Fresno Chaffee Zoo CEO.

By next summer, the zoo plans to make itself a magnet for kids in the hot weather.

"Right now if it gets to be 105, a lot of times families will stay at home, right? And they don't come to the zoo, but this'll give them a reason to come to the zoo and play," said Barton.

Rainy weather has kept attendance a little lower this year than the record pace of 2016, but the zoo is hoping to catch up, partly by marketing to people coming to the Valley to visit Yosemite.

For one Fresno native, the experience is a step up from the offerings he's now seeing in Indiana.

"Nothing like this Africa extension; it's a great thing the community has done here to make such a great zoo."

The old guard will keep nudging its way forward, with a bright future to follow.

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societyFresno Chaffee ZoofresnoFresno
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