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Ricko in 2009

Ricko (born January 16, 1997) is a 2,800 pound male Eastern black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) formerly residing at the Birmingham Zoo. He arrived at the zoo in 2005 and left for Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo in 2009.

Ricko is part of the Species Survival Plan, a program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help conserve rhinos and other animals. He was taken to Chicago as a breeding partner for a female there. Had he remained in Birmingham he was to have been included in the zoo's Trails of Africa exhibit, currently under construction.

As part of his enrichment activities, Ricko produced several paintings by spreading paint on boards using his upper lip. The paintings were sold as fund-raisers for the zoo. He also played with a large ball and enjoyed treats of watermelon, bananas and strawberries.

In August 2009 DuPont and Mohawk Carpets installed "SmartStrand Triexta" carpeting in Ricko's indoor exhibit area for two weeks to demonstrate its durability under harsh conditions. Chris Wade of HGTV supervised the design and installation of the carpeting. Four webcams were installed to allow internet users to observe him. Profits from t-shirt and toy sales related to the event were donated to the Zoo and to the International Rhinoceros Foundation.


  • Thornton, William (December 28, 2009) "Birmingham zookeepers keep circle of life turning." Birmingham News

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