Spring Update from Potter Park Zoo

The Potter Park Zoo and the Potter Park Zoological Society families are wishing you well during these challenging times. We wanted to extend our gratitude for your commitment to the community and the zoo.

Included with this note is our spring appeal letter. As you can see, our letter begins with information about our annual BIG Zoo Lesson, which sadly, has been cancelled for the remainder of the year due to the closure of the zoo during the coronavirus. The zoo’s temporary closure means a significant drop in revenue for all of the zoo’s programming.

Even with the temporary closure, our animals will always receive top-notch care from our dedicated staff. Our goal during these times is to engage our visitors and keep you updated with the latest zoo news through our website and social media platforms. With our spring appeal letter, we wanted to share Jaali’s story and express our gratitude to you. Your past support has allowed the zoo to grow and become a leader in animal care, conservation, and education – and Jaali’s birth is a significant conservation impact for his species.

If you are able, we hope you will consider making a contribution to support the zoo and its mission of inspiring conservation of animals and the natural world. We know we are all facing challenges and understand if you are unable to make a gift at this time.




Spring Appeal

Dear Friend of Potter Park Zoo,

At 5:40 a.m. December 24, 2019, Doppsee, the zoo’s 12-year old female black rhino gave birth to her very first calf, Jaali. Within hours, Jaali was standing and nursing. Since then, Jaali is hitting many milestones. Watching him practice sparring with mom, bonding with his keepers, and demonstrating play behavior, we have all grown to love Jaali’s antics, personality, and most importantly—his conservation impact.

Jaali is only the 54th black rhino in the care of facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in the world. Potter Park Zoo participates in the black rhino Species Survival Plan (SSP) as well as more than 40 other SSPs. The SSP works to maintain genetically healthy and diverse populations in zoos. Jaali’s father, Phineus, came to Potter Park Zoo in 2017 from Texas specifically to breed with Doppsee. On average, less than two black rhino calves are born in human care each year, making every calf born vital to this endangered population.

We are thankful to supporters like you for making Potter Park Zoo a leader in animal care and conservation. With your efforts, we are able to continue our work saving species, providing lifelong memories for people of all ages, and connecting our community’s children, families and senior citizens with wildlife.  We are hopeful you will consider contributing to our continued work, so we are able to have more conservation successes like Jaali!

Please consider donating online at or use the return envelope enclosed to make your tax-deductible gift today.

Jaali’s Milestones

  • Sparring: 12-25-2019
  • First poop: 12-27-2019
  • Play behavior: 12-31-2019
  • Lost umbilical cord: 1-2-2020
  • Testing solids, but not eating: 1-3-2020
  • Climbing Mom: 1-3-2020
  • Zoomies: 1-3-2020
  • Playing with sticks: 1-4-2020
  • Jaali is named: 1-9-2020
  • First mud bath: 1-19-2020
  • First exposure to snow (pile brought inside for him to investigate): 1-21-2020
  • First enrichment: 1-22-2020

On behalf of baby Jaali and all of the other amazing Potter Park Zoo animals, we thank you!

Amy L. Morris-Hall, Executive Director

Potter Park Zoological Society




P.S. Your gift matters.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, about 5,000 individual black rhinos are alive in the wild today. Black rhinos like baby Jaali are critically endangered, and are being pushed to the brink of extinction by illegal poaching and loss of habitat. Every calf born is vital to this critically endangered population.


To make a general donation online, please click the button below