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SOS Rhino : In the News : Baby Sumatran rhino now has a name: Suci

Baby Sumatran rhino now has a name: Suci

  By Dan Klepal
Enquirer staff writer
Saturday, September 4, 2004

The Cincinnati Zoo's new Sumatran rhino calf has a sacred name.

Emi, a Sumatran rhinoceros, and her baby Suci.

(Enquirer photo/TONY JONES)

Zoo officials choose the name Suci (pronounced SUE-chee) from more than 5,200 entries during the month-long contest. The zoo received submissions from 46 states and nine countries, including Scotland, England, Germany, Italy, Poland, Israel and Brazil.

Suci, an Indonesian word meaning "sacred," was submitted by Shannon Baynum of Burlington.

"The birth of this baby is definitely a sacred event that should be cherished," said Baynum, who chose several words in English, then looked them up in an Indonesian dictionary at the library and submitted them as names.

Suci was submitted by five people, and Baynum's entry was picked in a drawing as the winner. She gets a one-year zoo membership and other prizes.

The female calf was born July 30, weighing in at 70 pounds. Suci now weighs 180 pounds, is healthy and on display at the zoo. The calf's birth was historic because it was the first time scientists have been able to twice impregnate a female in captivity, thanks to methods developed at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Dr. Terri Roth, who developed those techniques, said she was surprised by the number of entries.

"I was also surprised at the amount of thought that went into some of the entries," Roth said.

Sumatran rhinos are one of the most endangered mammals on earth, numbering less than 300. In the past 15 years, more than 50 percent of the Sumatran rhino population has been killed by poaching for their horns and habitat destruction. Sumatran rhinos are the only Asian rhino with two horns, and are the smallest the five species.

The Cincinnati Zoo's baby Sumatran rhino was named Suci, after the zoo considered more than 5,200 entries in its naming contest. Here are three names that were finalists in the contest:

• Hadiah, meaning "gift."

• Asha, meaning "hope."

• Kirana, meaning "ray of light" or "beautiful."



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