Asheboro, NC – The North Carolina Zoo is excited to announce the name of the female southern white rhino calf born at the Zoo on July 2, 2018. “Nandi” (Nahn-dee) was the first rhino born at the Zoo in 41 years. She was born to mother Linda and father Stormy.

The public was invited to vote on seven names chosen by the Zoo’s rhino zookeepers. Each of the names offered – Nandi, Mamba, Diana, Boadicea, Grace O’Malley, Penelope and Wilhelmina - reflected the theme of strong, female leaders in history, both factual and mythical.

The top three names chosen in the public poll were Nandi, Mamba and Diana. As one last fatherly task, dad Stormy (male rhinos typically play no role in raising offspring) was given the three choices in African inspired custom-made poles spaced several feet apart from each other that were stuffed with Timothy hay – one of his favorite treats. He immediately trotted over to the pole that was named “Nandi.”

Nandi, which means "a woman of high esteem," was the Queen of the Zulus and was born in the 1760s. She died in 1827 in the area now known as South Africa. Nandi was the mother of Shaka, King of the Zulus. Shaka is considered by some as one of the greatest Zulu chiefs and African military leaders. There are accounts that his establishment of all-female regiments was influenced by his warrior-mother.

Eleven days after Nandi was born, the Zoo announced the birth of a second female baby rhino on Friday, July 13 to mom Kit and dad Stormy. The Zoo will offer details about her naming process soon.

At the beginning of the 20th century, southern white rhinos were hunted to near extinction for their horns, which some erroneously believe provide medicinal benefits. Rhino horn is constructed from keratin, which is the same material that makes up human fingernails and hair.  There are currently around 20,000 southern white rhinos left in the wild, mostly in the southern Africa region.

Today, populations in the wild still face significant threats from poaching and habitat loss. In addition to their work with the rhinos at the North Carolina Zoo, staff work on projects in several countries in Southern Africa to protect wild rhinos from poaching and save the species from extinction. 

The Zoo’s herd now boasts nine rhinos which consist of Stormy and females Linda, Kit, Natalie and Abby, and the two calves. All seven are on public view at our Watani Grasslands 40-acre habitat. Two older rhinos, Stan (male) and Olivia (female) live in an off-viewing retirement habitat.



About the North Carolina Zoo

At the North Carolina Zoo, we celebrate nature. As the world’s largest natural habitat Zoo, we inspire a lifelong curiosity about animals for the hundreds of thousands of people who visit our Zoo each year. Our dedicated team of experts provides exceptional, compassionate care for the more than 1,600 animals and 52,000 plants that call our Park home. We also lead efforts locally and globally to protect wildlife and wild places because we believe nature’s diversity is critical for our collective future. The North Carolina Zoo invites all of our guests to witness the majesty of the wild in the heart of North Carolina and welcomes everyone to join in our mission to protect nature’s diversity. Visit to begin your life-changing journey.


About the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.


NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the North Carolina Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call 919- 807-7300 or visit