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The Honolulu Zoo holds naming contest for baby rhino

WAIKĪKĪ – The Honolulu Zoo announces a naming contest for its newest Eastern black rhinoceros.  Born on Wednesday, April 19, 2023, to parents Aria (mother) and Kendi (father), the male baby rhino is healthy and growing and has recently been allowed to venture into the outdoor rhino habitat. 

Zoo visitors can now see all three rhinos on exhibit in the Zoo’s African Savanna, watch baby play, and help to pick a name for the calf. 

Honolulu Zoo staff have selected three names for the public to choose from:

•Akamu: Hawaiian for Adam, and since he is a black rhino, this would be similar to the DC Comics character, Black Adam. Also meaning “red dirt” or “of the earth” in Hebrew
•Ardi: A combination of his parent’s names Aria and Kendi
•Hiapo: meaning first-born in Hawaiian

Three voting donation boxes, one for each name, will be set up at Kapahulu Market, the zoo’s food and beverage concession at the center of the zoo. Zoo visitors will be able to vote in-person during zoo hours or, online at until July 9, 2023. The winner will be decided based on the name earning the highest donation amount. All donations will go to the Honolulu Zoo Society to support enrichment for the baby rhino.

“The staff are thrilled to work with and watch the baby rhino grow,” said Honolulu Zoo Director Linda Santos. “They have thoughtfully selected names based on their observations of his personality and character. We encourage the public to visit the zoo and check out the baby rhino on exhibit or via our live rhino cam online, and to help us pick his name.”

The male baby is the first offspring of the rhino couple who arrived at the Honolulu Zoo from San Diego last September and November. Parents, Kendi and Aria, were identified as a breeding pair as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP).

The calf continues to nurse and has gained over 100 pounds since birth, weighing approximately 175 pounds. His father, Kendi weighs approximately 2,450 pounds.

Visitors are welcome to see the rhino family on exhibit and are encouraged to be respectful while viewing and taking photos. The rhino exhibit is located in the African Savanna, near the play apparatus.

View the live rhino cam at: or, visit and type “Honolulu Zoo rhino cam” into the search field.

The critically endangered Eastern black rhino is the smaller of the two African rhino species, the other being the white rhino. They stand up to five feet high at the shoulder and are approximately twelve feet in length. Eastern black rhinos can weigh up to 3,000 pounds, and have three toes, thick dark brown to gray colored skin, and two fibrous keratin horns. They are best distinguished from the white rhino by their pointed, rather than square, upper lip. They are reported to live up to 35 years in the wild, and up to 50 years under human care. 

The Honolulu Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with zoo grounds closing at 4 p.m. The zoo is closed on Christmas Day.


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