The Maryland Zoo welcomed a new member of the family earlier this month, and now the zoo needs help choosing a name for the beautiful, baby girl.
The female chimpanzee on born July 5 and made her debut at the zoo last week. Now nearly three weeks old, she spends all of her time being carried by her mother, Bunny. She is one of 13 chimpanzees that call the zoo home.
The Chimpanzee Forest animal care team narrowed possible names for the baby chimp down to four options. Now, they are allowing the public to choose the best one.
The final names are:
- Afia — (pronounced ah-fee-ah) means “born on a Friday,” from the “Ewe” language, which is a Niger-Congo language spoken in Benin, Toga and Ghana in Africa. Chimpanzees can be found in Ghana, but the population there, as in most areas, is in rapid decline due to habitat loss and overhunting.
• Kit — A reference to her mother’s name. A baby rabbit is called a kit or a kitten.
• Lola — The name of the female rabbit in Looney Tunes (another play on her mother’s name).
• Zalika — (pronounced zah-leek-ah) Swahili for “well born.” Swahili is spoken in multiple East and Central African countries, including Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where chimpanzees are found.
To vote on the new name, visit The Maryland Zoo’s website. Voting is open now through Thursday, Aug. 8 and visitors can vote once per day.
Her mother’s name — Bunny — comes from her birthday. Bunny was born on Easter Sunday in 1990.
Chimpanzees are still classified as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. The species continues to lose their natural habitat — the African forest — to agriculture, commercial logging and fires, The Maryland Zoo said in a news release. Poaching and disease also threaten the wild population of chimps.
The zoo said the birth of the new baby chimpanzee is the result of a recommendation from the Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs make breeding recommendations to maximize genetic diversity to ensure both the health of the individual animal and the long-term survival of the population.
For updates on the baby chimp, visit The Maryland Zoo’s website.
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