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White Rhinos are Named at the Maryland Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: June 15, 2021 2:10 pm

Rhinos Named at the Maryland Zoo

J.P. the newly named rhino in his enclosure at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Photo Credit: The Maryland Zoo

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore have announced the names for their two southern white rhinoceros which debuted earlier this spring. Until now the pair have been known as southern white rhinos #30 and #33.

Now they will known as J.P. and Jelani which were decided on by zoo donors. J.P. stands for James Paul, in honor of donor Gabrielle Melka’s father. Jelani, which means great or powerful in Swahili, was the name of choice for donor Arthur Starr. Mr. Starr won the chance to name rhino #33 when he was randomly chosen from all who donated on behalf of the rhinos. Ms. Melka had the winning bid in the Silent Auction during the All for Animals event.

In total, $37,500 was raised during these two fundraisers!

Rhinos Named at the Maryland Zoo

J.P. (Left) and Jelani (Right) the newly named southern white rhinoceroses in his enclosure at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Photo Credit: The Maryland Zoo

“We cannot thank all of the donors enough for their continuing support of the Zoo,” stated Kirby Fowler, president and CEO of the Zoo.

“Even though we are coming out of the pandemic, we are still working our way back to financial security. Zoo visitation has been strong, even when the weather grew cold this winter, and these two young, energetic animals are inspiring to watch. Donations help us continue to provide high quality animal care day in and day out, so we are very grateful.”

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“J.P. and Jelani, both four-years-old, are very agile, intelligent animals,” said Erin Grimm, mammal collection and conservation manager at the Zoo. “They have acclimated well to their new home and their animal care team. We are all really excited to be able to call them by their new names!”

Southern white rhinoceros have been housed in the African Watering Hole exhibit at the Maryland Zoo since it opened in 1992.

Rhinos Named at the Maryland Zoo

J.P. the newly named rhino in his enclosure at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Photo Credit: The Maryland Zoo

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature classify the southern white rhinoceros as "near threatened." During the early 20th century they were almost driven to extinction but since numbers have increased significantly.

The name white rhino came from a misinterpretation of the Afrikaans word for wide which is "wiet." This name was used by the Afrikaans language in reference to their wide upper lip.

Rhinos Named at the Maryland Zoo

Jelani the newly named rhino in his enclosure at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Photo Credit: The Maryland Zoo

Learn more about Southern White Rhinoceros here – Southern White Rhinoceros Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Maryland Zoo on their website – The Maryland Zoo

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