DES MOINES, Iowa – The Blank Park Zoo is letting the public get involved in the naming process for its black rhino calf.
The female calf was born on October 11th to mother Ayana and father Kiano and is believed to be the first-ever birth of a black rhino in Iowa. The calf was 80 pounds at birth but is now 194 pounds.
Anyone who donates $50 or more to the zoo before December 31st will have a chance to suggest a name. Out of those suggestions a few will be chosen for the public to vote on. The zoo says it is giving preference to names in Swahili, which is the common language of the people in the region of eastern Africa where the black rhino’s natural habitat is located.
“We wanted to have a fun way for the public to be involved with naming the rhino calf, generate needed funds for Blank Park Zoo and raise awareness about the plight of the eastern black rhino in the wild,” said Mark Vukovich, CEO.
The winning name will be announced on January 11 at 11:23 a.m., on the rhino’s three-month birthday.