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North Carolina Zoo Announces Name of Baby Rhino Named by Public Poll

Posted on 05/04/2020
North Carolina Zoo Announces Name of Baby Rhino Named by Public Poll
Newest baby rhino at the North Carolina Zoo.

Asheboro, NC – The North Carolina Zoo and First Lady of North Carolina Kristin Cooper are excited to announce the name of the second female southern white rhino born at the Zoo this year, on Monday, Feb. 24.  She was born to mom Linda and dad Stormy.

Mrs. Cooper announced in a video that “Jojo” is the winning name chosen by the public. The public was invited to vote in an online poll from a list of names provided by the Zoo’s rhino keepers.  

“Jojo” (pronounced joe-joe) is named after rhino keeper Joseph “Jojo” Wachira of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Wachira was one of the last caretakers of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, featured in the documentary film “Kifaru.” *Phonetic pronunciations at the end

Wachira’s connection to North Carolina began when he visited the RiverRun International Film Festival in 2019 with North Carolina-based director Andrew Brown for the showing of “Kifaru” in Winston-Salem.

When notified of the name choice, Wachira was “deeply honored to hear the news – this is what I believe in and fight for every day – saving rhinos.”

The Zoo’s herd now boasts a total of ten rhinos roaming the 40-acre Watani Grasslands habitat. Male Stormy and adult females Linda, Kit, Natalie, Abby, Olivia, juvenile females Nandi and Bonnie (both born in 2018) and calves Mguu and Jojo born earlier this year.

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. 

Pronunciations:

Ol Pejeta Conservancy: (Ol-peh-jet’-tah)

Joseph Wachira (Wah-she-rah)

Kifaru (Ki-far-rue)

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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 1,800 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 NCZoo.org 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 www.ncdcr.gov.

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