ASHEBORO, N.C. — The North Carolina Zoo on Tuesday announced the name of the female southern white rhino calf born at the Zoo on July 13: Bonnie!
Bonnie was one of two rhinos born within just 11 days of each other at the zoo last month. She was born to mother Kit and father Stormy.
Zookeepers that care for the rhino herd daily recommended the name Bonnie in honor of longtime zoo donors and supporters they hold in high esteem, according to a news release from the zoo. The donors, who wish to remain anonymous, were privately informed of the naming and expressed their deep gratitude for the honor.
Bonnie is on habitat with her half-sister Nandi (born July 2) and the rest of the rhino herd.
The zoo’s herd now boasts seven rhinos on public view, including Stormy, females Linda, Kit, Natalie and Abby, and calves Nandi and Bonnie. All seven can be seen at the Watani Grasslands 40-acre habitat. Two older rhinos, Stan and Olivia, live in an off-viewing retirement habitat.
At the beginning of the 20th century, southern white rhinos were hunted to near extinction for their horns, which some erroneously believe provide medicinal benefits. Rhino horn is constructed from keratin, which is the same material that makes up human fingernails and hair. There are currently around 20,000 southern white rhinos left in the wild, mostly in the southern Africa region.
Today, populations in the wild still face significant threats from poaching and habitat loss. In addition to their work with the rhinos at the North Carolina Zoo, staff work on projects in several countries in southern Africa to protect wild rhinos from poaching and save the species from extinction, the release said.