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Posted by Tara Henson on 07/15/2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                    July 15, 2014

CONTACTS:        Tara Henson:  (405) 425-0219, office; (405) 919-9038, cell; or [email protected]

                      Candice Rennels:  (405) 425-0298, office; (405) 412-6172, cell; or [email protected]



     The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s 3-week-old male Indian rhino has a name, and it’s a tribute to his mom and grandma.

     Rupert was chosen the winner in an online poll that attracted more than 8,300 votes. The name, also the Keeper’s favorite, received 4,244 votes on and combined, or 51 percent of the vote. In keeping with a family tradition, Rupert is the Zoo’s twist on rupee, the official currency of the Republic of India. The nearly 1-month-old’s grandma was named Penny and his mom is named Nickle (although we call her “Niki”). Russellcame in second, with 28 percent of the vote, and Garjan finished third, with 21 percent.

     The rhino care team selected three names for the public to vote on. Voting was open from Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 13.

     To celebrate Rupert’s new name and his 1-month birthday on Saturday, the Zoo has festivities lined up for the weekend. The first 300 children to enter the turnstiles on Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20 will receive party favors at the turnstiles. Keeper Connections at 11:30 a.m. on both days will be hosted at Rupert and Niki’s habitat and will include chats about the newest Zoo family member and treats for the rhinos. You can help support rhinos even more by Rounding up for Rupert throughout the weekend.  With each purchase you make at the Zoo, you can choose to Round Up for Conservation! Simply tell the cashier that you want to "round up" the amount of your purchase to the next dollar and your donation will go toward rhino conservation. The birth of the baby rhino and naming contest have coincided with the Zoo’s emphasis on rhino conservation and preparations to host its annual Bowling for Rhinos fundraiser, sponsored by the Zoo's chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers. This year’s event will be Saturday, July 19, at 7 p.m. at Heritage Lanes in Oklahoma City. Learn more at One hundred percent of the proceeds from Bowling for Rhinos benefits rhino conservation projects in Asia and Africa.  With the help of the dedicated citizens of Oklahoma, the Zoo has raised more than $250,000 for rhino conservation through this event. Other Zoo Conservation Action Now initiatives that help rhino conservation include the PanEco Foundation and Lekurriki Conservation Trust through the Northern Rangelands Trust.

     The Zoo participates in the Greater One-Horned Asian Rhinoceros Species Survival Plan (SSP), developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  The SSP is a cooperative effort among AZA accredited zoos throughout North America created to help promote genetic diversity and manage population numbers within the species. 

     Make a ruckus for Rupert and support rhino conservation! For the latest scoop on Rupert, visit the Zoo's Facebook page at or Twitter @okczoo. The Zoo is a proud member of Oklahoma City’s Adventure District located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Buildings close at 4:45 p.m. daily. Regular admission is $8 for adults, and $5 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Become a Zoo fan at , or follow us on Instagram and Twitter @okczoo. To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit


Rupert - Baby Rhino

Photo:  Rupert, Greater one-horned or Indian Rhinoceros. Credit: Gillian Lang

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The Zoo is a fully accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the American Association of Museums (AAM) as both a living museum and a botanical garden. AZA accredited facilities are dedicated to providing excellent care for their plants and animals, a great experience for guests and a better future for all living things.

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