BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It wasn’t the Bills or Sabres making a trade this time, but instead the Buffalo Zoo, as it welcomed an eastern black rhinoceros named Romeo from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.

Romeo, a 4-year-old male, came to Buffalo in exchange for another rhino, Lulu, who will now live at the Lincoln Park Zoo as part of a species survival plan recommendation to support eastern black rhino conservation.

The rhino swap will allow Romeo to spend the next few years in Buffalo maturing before he is ready to breed, while Lulu, a 5-year-old female, moves to Chicago with the hope that she can pair with one of the Lincoln Park Zoo’s male rhinos.

Photo: Buffalo Zoo

“The Buffalo Zoo is proud to be a part of this major rhino undertaking,” Lisa Smith,
Buffalo Zoo President and CEO, said in a release. “It is incredibly important that we continue to work together to save this critically endangered species. Moving these rhinos to their new homes gives each Zoo a chance to work towards the conservation of the species. There are currently 53 animals at 26 AZA-accredited zoos so every female being in a breeding situation is critical to the population.”

Black rhinos are one of the most endangered mammals on the planet, according to the Buffalo Zoo’s release, with an estimated 5,500 remaining in the wild. Poaching, habitat loss and climate change have all put the species at risk of extinction.

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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.