Facebook voting contest invites fans of all ages to help choose name for female Indian rhino calf


Our baby rhino is here and you’re going to fall in love with her! The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is inviting the public to help name its female Indian rhinoceros calf. As Oklahomans head to the polls this week, this is a fun opportunity for younger audiences to also participate in a voting process and choose a name for the Zoo’s newest arrival. The baby rhino naming contest will be hosted on the OKC Zoo’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/okczoo, now through Thursday, November 5.


The Zoo’s elephant and rhino caretaker team selected three name options for the calf that are representative of the species native habitat in India and Nepal. Voters can select from the following names:

  1. Narayani: Means “Goddess of wealth and power” in Sanskrit, also a river in Nepal.
  2. Oni: Hindu meaning “desired” or “wanted”.
  3. Yabi: An acronym for the Yayasan Badak, a group of rhino protection units in Java and Sumatra funded by the International Rhino Foundation, one of the Zoo’s conservation partners. This is the Caretakers Choice!


Facebook fans can cast their vote for their preferred name choice – A, B or C and share it as a comment on the Zoo’s page, www.facebook.com/okczoo. The winning name will be announced on the Zoo’s Facebook page Friday, November 6. 


Born on Friday, October 23 to mom, Niki, 13, the Zoo’s youngest rhino is the sixth Indian rhino, also called the greater one-horned rhino, born at the OKC Zoo and Niki’s second offspring. Caretakers report that both mom and baby are healthy and Niki is an attentive mother, demonstrating good maternal behaviors such as nursing and keeping her daughter in close proximity.


Weather permitting, 50 degrees or higher, Niki and her daughter will have access to their outdoor habitat in a secluded section of Sanctuary Asia, viewable to guests riding on the Elephant Express tram.


The OKC Zoo has been home to Indian rhinos since 1981. Niki came to the Zoo in 2009 from the Bronx Zoo. Sanctuary Asia is also home to Indian rhino, Shanti, 32, who arrived from the Fort Worth Zoo in 2019. Native to India and Nepal, Indian rhinos, can weigh more than 3,000 pounds. These impressive animals are known for their single horn and tough skin that resembles body armor. Indian rhinos are currently listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Through successful conservation programs and daily protection, Indian rhino populations in the wild have increased to more 3,600 animals. However, there is a continuing decline in the quality of their natural habitat and the species continues to be illegally hunted for its horn.


The OKC Zoo is helping save Indian rhinos by supporting the International Rhino Foundation’s efforts to protect vulnerable and critically endangered rhinos and their habitat in India with money from the Round Up for Conservation Fund. The Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation program encourages guests to donate their change from any Zoo purchase to help protect wildlife and wild places around the world. The Zoo’s American Association of Zookeepers chapter has raised more than $373,000 for rhinos in Asia and Africa through its fundraising efforts since 1990.


Show your love for our baby rhino and vote for a name! The Oklahoma City Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Advance tickets are required for all guests and ZOOfriends members and can be purchased at http://www.okczoo.org/tickets. Zoo tickets are limited each day to ensure safe social distancing among guests. Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Stay up-to-date with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by visiting Our Stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a member. Memberships can be purchased at ZOOfriends.org or any place admission is sold in the Zoo’s Entry Plaza during regular business hours. To learn more about this event and Zoo other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.