The Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend Indiana welcomed the arrival of the newest member of their extensive family, a white rhinoceros named Masamba. Having a white rhinoceros at the Potawatomi Zoo is a major accomplishment and shows how much the Zoo has evolved into a modern conservation and education facility. Since its humble start, the Potawatomi Zoo has become a premiere destination for fun and educational activity in the South Bend region.
Harsh winters, rainy seasons, and the unpredictable nature of animals make for a challenge to create durable, aesthetically pleasing, and safe enclosures. Due to the necessity of building a durable enclosure for the zoos most powerful species on site, the Zoo staff worked together to comprise a design and a plan to ensure not only a durable enclosure for Masamba but a safe and versatile environment where he could roam freely inside and outside of his building as weather allowed.
A full grown male can weigh 5,000 lbs. so a normal containment fence would not work. The Zoo staff knew that if they contracted this project out, they would never have the budget for it, so they took it on as a house project – with great success. They worked directly with AZZ Galvanizing – Plymouth to obtain durable and cost effective galvanized material. The zoo brought pieces to be galvanized over the course of a year, until the entire project was galvanized and pieced together perfectly.
It is extremely important to galvanize the fencing, enclosure, and chutes to ensure there would never be rust. Rust is a USDA violation within animal containment. Paint is not a good option, because a rhinoceros rubs on the fence and would wear through the paint very quickly, exposing the steel to the elements, making it a constant battle to keep it painted and protected from rusting, not to mention the “call of nature” that can be very caustic to painted surfaces.
As an ambassador for his species, Masamba will help educate children and adults alike about rhino conservation and the ecosystem they call home in a worry-free, durable and aesthetically pleasing hot-dip galvanized home for many years to come.