HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – Hattiesburg Zoo’s young male hyena, Kito, will relocate to Rolling Hills Zoo in Kansas.

Zoo leaders said Kito is being moved as a part of the Species Survival Plan as he is nearing breeding age and will hopefully mate with a female at his new home.

Kito was born October 17, 2022, at the Hattiesburg Zoo as a single cub to mother Pili and father Niru. He was the only hyena born at a Zoo in the United States in 2022.

“Though we are sad that Kito will be leaving us, we are proud to be a part of the Species Survival Plan program,” said Kristen Moore, Animal Curator for the Hattiesburg Zoo. “The fact that the Hattiesburg Zoo added to the hyena population with the birth of Kito and that hopefully he will also be successful in breeding is a really big accomplishment and speaks to the quality of our facilities and expertise of our animal care team.”

The Species Survival Plan (SSP) is a program developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums.

“Conservation is a vital part of our mission at the Hattiesburg Zoo,” said Jeremy Cumpton, Director of Conservation, Education and Wildlife. “It is important for us at the Hattiesburg Zoo to assist with promoting the growth of the hyena population, and I am proud for our role in that effort.”

Kito will be on exhibit in his habitat at the Hattiesburg Zoo along with parents Niru and Pili through Sunday, October 1, 2023.