Rolling Hills Zoo proudly announces the newest addition to its family with the arrival of Kito, a male spotted hyena who joins Maxi, the zoo’s female hyena. Kito’s relocation from the Hattiesburg Zoo in Mississippi to Rolling Hills Zoo marks an important step in the Species Survival Program (SSP) for these majestic animals.
Born on October 17, 2022, Kito is a pivotal addition to the Spotted Hyena’s Species Survival Program, being the sole surviving hyena born in North America in 2022. With his parents Niru and Pili, Kito's lineage embodies a crucial part of the conservation efforts for these remarkable creatures.
Kito’s new habitat will be adjacent to Maxi, allowing the two hyenas to familiarize themselves with each other and their new environment.
The introduction of Kito and Maxi offers a unique opportunity for visitors to compare the distinct physical characteristics between African painted dogs and hyenas, as they often confuse the species. Hyenas stand apart with their bigger stature, a large head with a long thick muscular neck, powerful jaws and spotted markings. African painted dogs have a colorful patchy coat with markings as unique as a human fingerprint, large bat-like ears and a bushy tail with a white tip. Contrary to the teamwork displayed by African painted dogs during hunts and nurturing ill pack members, hyenas exhibit more competitive behaviors.
While commonly recognized for their distinctive "laughter" vocalizations, hyenas use these sounds not as an expression of joy but rather as a response to stress, threats, or frustration.
The transfer of Kito to Rolling Hills Zoo necessitated the relocation of Iris, the capybara, to the south yard of the maned wolf exhibit. However, Azalea, Iris’s sister, will continue to reside in her current pond yard.
The public is invited to come see Kito, Rolling Hills Zoo’s newest resident, as he acclimates to his new surroundings and befriends Maxi, offering a chance to witness these fascinating animals up close.
About Rolling Hills Zoo
Rolling Hills Zoo is a 65-acre zoological park which includes a world-class wildlife museum is committed to wildlife conservation, education, and providing exceptional experiences for their visitors. Situated just west of Salina, Kansas, the zoo offers a diverse range of exhibits, educational programs, and conservation initiatives, fostering a deeper understanding of our natural world by touching hearts, igniting passion in effort to save wildlife.
About Species Survival Program (SSP)
The Species Survival Program is a collaborative effort among accredited Association of Zoos & Aquarium (AZA) zoos to manage and conserve threatened or endangered species populations. By coordinating breeding programs and conservation strategies, SSPs aim to maintain healthy and genetically diverse populations of animals under human care.
Rolling Hills Zoo
Touching Hearts . Igniting Passion . Saving Wildlife