Zoo asked public to name this baby gorilla – and it's no surprise what name people want

By Kirstin Buick
02 September 2016

There was really only one name in the running.

When Honi the gorilla from a zoo in Philadelphia in the US welcomed a baby, the zoo asked for help naming the little chap. And there was really only one name in the running -- Harambe. Harambe was the name of the male gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo who was shot dead earlier this year after a four-year-old boy somehow got into his enclosure. The incident prompted international outrage, with many pointing fingers at the boys' mother for not keeping a close enough watch on the child.

After the deluge of "Harambes" on Twitter, Philadelphia Zoo quickly clarified that they would come up with a shortlist, from which zoo fans could chose their favourite name.

We are very excited to welcome Honi's new baby," Dr Andy Baker, the zoo's Chief Operating Officer, told BBC.

"This birth is an opportunity to engage our visitors in caring about the future of gorillas in the wild."

Despite the furor, Mashable columnist Tim Chester reckons Philadelphia Zoo probably won't feature Harambe on their list.

"The Philadelphia Zoo will probably not call its gorilla Harambe," he writes.

"For starters, they don't know what sex it is yet, as it's still being held close by its mother. Once they do know, they're planning on choosing a shortlist of names and asking the public to vote on them."

Doting mom Honi hasn't let her little one out of her sight. PHOTO: facebook.com/philadelphiazoo Doting mom Honi hasn't let her little one out of her sight. PHOTO: facebook.com/philadelphiazoo

And if you read between the lines of the chief marketing officer for the zoo's comments to CNN, he may have been right.

“[We are aware] that people have an interest in naming this baby after another gorilla we’ve all come to know this past year, I totally understand where that’s coming from,” Amy Shearer told the outlet.

“We never announced we were having a naming contest … What we are having is a voting opportunity for the community once we have better determined the gender of the baby and have worked internally with the team that has cared for the pregnancy and birth.”

Sources: Mashable, BBC, CNN

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