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The Virginia Zoo's new Southern white rhino calf finally has a name

Mosi the Southern white rhino
Mosi the Southern white rhino
Mosi the Southern white rhino
Posted at 7:54 PM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 19:54:12-04

NORFOLK, Va. - He has a name!

The Virginia Zoo held a two-week online auction to name its newest Southern white rhino calf that was born last month.

The winning name? Mosi!

The anonymous winner contributed more than $4,200 to name the baby rhino, and the donation will support the International Rhino Foundation, which is a conservation partner of the Virginia Zoo.

Pronounced "MOH-see," it means "first born" in Swahili. The donor said they wanted “something meaningful since [the calf] being the first Southern white rhino born at the Zoo is very special.”

“Mosi’s birth is extra significant as it is the first time his mother’s genes are represented in North America, making this lineage incredibly important for the long-term survival of the species in North America,” said Greg Bockheim, executive director of the Virginia Zoo.

Mosi currently weighs approximately 250 pounds, having gained nearly 125 pounds since he was born on July 11. The Zoo says he's a strong calf who loves exploring his surroundings. He even had his first mud bath on exhibit!

Mosi can be seen in his habitat in the Africa Okavango Delta everyday with his mom, Zina, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Other times, he can be seen from inside the rhino barn.

The Virginia Zoo is open late until 8 p.m. Friday, August 6 for its last Adult Night of the season. This 21+ event allows visitors to see what animals do afterhours – including the new baby, Mosi. Only advance tickets are available; click here for details.