Lansing zoo hosting contest to name rare black rhino calf

Posted at 8:27 AM, Jan 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-02 08:27:41-05

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Lansing zoo has kicked off a naming contest for a rare black rhino calf that was born on Christmas Eve.

Zoologists with Potter Park Zoo have released a list of six potential names for the male calf, which is a member of a critically endangered species. Those names include options in Swahili and Afrikaans.

Members of the public can cast ballots online with a donation. Proceeds will go to development of the zoo's animal health program, zoo officials said this week.

The contest ends Jan. 8 and the winner will be announced the following day.

There are only 54 black rhinos in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, according to zoo officials. There are an estimated 5,000 black rhinos in the wild.

Zoo officials said the species is at risk of extinction because of illegal poaching and habitat loss.

The newborn calf, which is bonding with its mother, Doppsee, won't be seen by the public until the spring. Both animals will be monitored closely over the next few weeks, zoologists said.