Welcome Baby Rhino Jojo!

North Carolina Zoo names baby rhino after Ol Pejeta Ranger

Ol Pejeta was thrilled to hear that North Carolina Zoo (NCZ) has named their most recent addition, an adorable baby southern white rhino, Jojo, after our amazing ranger and conservation ambassador Joseph Wachira. Jojo was selected for this honour during a public vote held in April 2020. The First Lady of North Carolina, Kristin Cooper, announced in a video on May 4, 2020, that “Jojo” was the winning name chosen by the public. 

North Carolina Zoo is the world’s largest natural habitat zoo, providing a home for over 1,800 animals and more than 52,000 plants. Joseph was lucky enough to travel to North Carolina in 2019, together with James Mwenda, his conservation colleague and fellow Ol Pejeta ranger. In the course of their trip, they were able to meet hundreds of like-minded people, all passionate about protecting wildlife and spreading awareness. 

The naming of baby Jojo is a much appreciated recognition of Joseph’s dedication to rhinos, and indeed all wild animals. 

Aged 30, Jojo was born nearby in Nyeri town and has worked on Ol Pejeta for the last eight years, starting as a cook for the armed anti-poaching unit. Living right next door to the endangered species enclosure, he formed an interest in them, and asked his boss if he might be given a chance to prove that he, too, could play a part in taking care of the rhinos that lived within. Granted this opportunity, he worked hard and showed both an affinity for wildlife and the necessary conscientiousness for such a responsibility. 

Eventually he came to be one of the primary caretakers of Sudan, the last northern white rhino male on the planet. He is immensely proud to have had the privilege of looking after this gentle giant, and to become the namesake of a new little rhino has only solidified his ambition to win the war against poaching. 

“It’s an honour to have the baby rhino named after me at the North Carolina Zoo. I wish to take this chance to thank the Zoo for this humbling opportunity but more the people who voted to have the baby named after me. I also hope that baby “Jojo” grows to be a strong, healthy rhino that will bring so much joy to the people visiting zoo, as well as the much needed awareness on the plight of rhinos in general. Those in the wild faced with the constant threat of poaching, habitat loss and eventual extinction need our help more than ever. I can’t wait for a time in the future when I will get to meet the little “Jojo” in person. My prayer is that she thrives in her wonderful home in North Carolina. Thanks once again.” Joseph Wachira, Ol Pejeta Ranger. 

Ol Pejeta, as an organisation, are hugely gratified by the naming of baby Jojo and wish to commend Joseph on his tremendous efforts, as well as all the other rangers who do such difficult and courageous work in the name of wildlife.