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Howard the rhino is Phoenix Zoo’s newest addition

(Phoenix Zoo Photo)

PHOENIX – The Phoenix Zoo’s female rhino, LouLou, just got a new exhibit mate.

All the way from Breavard Zoo in Melbourne, Fla. Howard, or “Howie,” as he is also known, recently made the non-stop, 31-hour journey to his new home here in the Valley, according to an email from Phoenix Zoo’s Director of Communications Lisa Hardwick.

Transporting a rhino across the country is no easy task, however.

Howie’s trip from Florida to Arizona required supervision from a keeper, veterinary staff and a ranger, as well as logistical assistance from two forklifts.

Coincidentally, Howie’s first day in his new habitat was also his 23rd birthday.

Although Howie and LouLou will be platonic companions, introducing rhinos to each other for the first time can be a tricky process.

The highly-monitored “howdy” introduction includes initially keeping them separated by a barrier that allows them to see and smell each other, along with having some limited physical interaction.

Howie and LouLou’s highly-structured interactions will be closely monitored until it is determined by keepers that the new exhibit mates are ready to share the same space.

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