The 2 newest members of the Toronto Zoo's rhino family now have names
Members of the public have selected the names Theodore and Kiran for baby rhinos
The Toronto Zoo revealed the names of its two baby rhinos born recently as Theodore, the white rhino, and Kiran, the greater one-horned rhino.
The rhinos were born on Dec. 24, 2017 and Jan. 4, 2018 respectively. Approximately 5,500 members of the public participated in a contest launched on Feb. 14, to select a name from three put forward by zoo staff for each rhino.
Theodore emerged as the most popular name for the baby white rhino while Kiran was the winning name for the greater one-horned rhino.
"Our keeping staff are so excited that Theodore was picked because his dad is named Tom," Maria Franke, the curator of mammals at the Toronto Zoo said. She explained that it's been a practice to give the son a name starting with the first letter of the dad's name.
"Kiran actually means ray of light and our little rhino calf is definitely a ray of light. He loves his showers [and] playing with mom," Franke said.
Theodore was born to mother Zohari and father Tom while Kiran was born to mother Ashakiran, affectionately known to her keepers as Asha, and father Vishnu.
Toronto Zoo officials say that encouraging the public to assist in naming the baby rhinos allowed the zoo to engage the community in a fun way.
"At the same time, it also allows us to bring forward the plight that all rhino species face in the wild. We hope that we have educated and empowered people to help the Toronto Zoo generate funds for conservation efforts to save these majestic animals," Franke said.
Three species of rhinos are listed as 'critically endangered'
There are five species of rhinos found in the world with three species listed as critically endangered. The biggest threat for rhinos is poaching.
"It's estimated that there are three or four rhinos killed each day and if the poaching continues at the rate that it is going it is estimated that rhinos could be extinct in the wild as early as 10 years," Franke explained.
"So the Toronto Zoo is part of the species survival plan where we do our best in working collaboratively with partners through North America to ensure that we have a healthy genetic population. These two calves are really, really important for rhino conservation."
The Toronto Zoo is part of both the Greater One-Horned Rhino Species Survival Plan (SSP) and White Rhino SSP, which aims to establish and maintain healthy, genetically diverse populations, and overall conservation efforts to save both of these incredible species.
Members of the public can now see Kiran and mom in the indoor Greater One-Horned Rhino Habitat daily from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.