4-year-old wins rhino-naming contest

Emma Dierks, 4, daughter of Dr. Scott and Nicolle Dierks of Sioux Falls, meets Imara,  the mother of the Eastern Black Rhino calf born this fall at the Great Plains Zoo. (Photo courtesy of Great Plains Zoo)

The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History is pleased to announce that the Eastern Black Rhino calf born in October has been named "Kiano".

Last month, the Zoo launched a contest to name the rhino calf. During a two-week period, 30 names were submitted, and in the three weeks that followed, nearly 4,500 votes were cast. It was a heated race, with "Kiano" edging out the other names by slightly more than 100 votes. "Kiano" reflects the rhino’s African heritage and means "full of joy".

The now 300-pound Kiano and his mother "Imara" can be seen daily in the rhino day room located in the new "Rare Rhinos of Africa" exhibit. The day room allows guests to see the rhinos up-close, all year long.

The winning name was submitted by Emma Dierks, 4, daughter of Dr. Scott and Nicolle Dierks of Sioux Falls. For her efforts, Dierks had an opportunity to meet the rhino calf, his mother, and the Zookeepers who care for the family.

Through this contest, the Zoo raised over $3,600. All proceeds will go directly to benefit the animals at the Great Plains Zoo, a non-profit organization.

"Naming an Eastern Black Rhino is very special for everyone involved," said Elizabeth A. Whealy, President and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo. "We are very grateful for the generosity of everyone who participated in this contest and we look forward to watching Kiano grow into a big, strong rhino."

The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last admission at 4 p.m. Visit the Zoo online at www.greatzoo.org or call 605-367-7003 for more information about the Zoo and Museum.

— From a Great Plains Zoo news release

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.

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