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How you can help name the first gorilla ever born at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Baby Gorilla Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Posted at 4:00 AM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 07:48:17-05

CLEVELAND — For the first time in it's 139-year history, a baby gorilla was born at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo—and now, the zoo, in partnership with CrossCountry Mortgage, is letting the public help give him a name.

Born to his mother Nneka, 23, and his father Mokolo, 34. on Oct. 26, the male baby gorilla has been cared for by the troop’s eldest female, Fredrika, 47, after she instinctively took over maternal care of the newborn when Nneka did not show appropriate maternal care.

Now that he's settled into the gorilla habitat, the little one needs a name, which the public can vote on.

The zoo has announced three name finalists and their meanings:

  • Bakari, “One who will succeed”
  • Jabari, “Fearless or brave one”
  • Kayembe, “Extraordinary”

Voting can be done in person at the gorilla habitat at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, or online by making a financial contribution on the Cleveland Zoological Society website.Online voters can make the contribution in one of the three name options, and the dollar totals count as votes. All of the funds support gorilla conservation through the Zoo’s longtime partnership with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

“Gorillas are an incredible species and the birth of the first gorilla here in Cleveland has been another reminder of why we need to protect them from extinction,” said Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director Dr. Chris Kuhar in a press release. “Every vote to help name our gorilla will have a direct impact, protecting this iconic and critically endangered species in the wild.”

Voting will run through Feb. 11 at 5 p.m.

Guests can visit the baby gorilla daily between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will announce the baby gorilla's name on Feb. 17 via its social media pages.

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