Zoo holds gorilla naming contest; Internet reacts accordingly

A newborn baby western lowland gorilla looks up as it is held by its mother Honi during its debut at the Philadelphia Zoo in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. The unnamed baby gorilla was born Friday, Aug. 26. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A newborn baby western lowland gorilla looks up as it is held by its mother Honi during its debut at the Philadelphia Zoo in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. The unnamed baby gorilla was born Friday, Aug. 26. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

- No, they will not name the new lowland baby gorilla born at the Philadelphia Zoo, 'Harambe.'

The 17-year-old gorilla was shot and killed in May at the Cincinnati Zoo after a three-year-old boy crawled into its enclosure.

The gorilla's death prompted countless memes, many making light of the animal's death. Western lowland gorillas, which inhabit African forests, are listed as critically endangered species.

The adorable new gorilla in Philadelphia made its public debut on Wednesday, five days after its 21-year-old mother, Honi, gave birth.

The zoo soon took to social media to announce a contest to help name the new gorilla.

An overwhelming number of responses were for Harambe which prompted the zoo to revise the contest guidelines.

"@phillyzoo Harambe has been reborn! Praise the heavens!"

"@phillyzoo Name it Harambe Jr."

"@phillyzoo harambe 2.0"

"@phillyzoo Harambaby"

"This is a significant birth, so we want the public to be involved, but we're not off our rockers," the zoo's Director of Communications Dana Lombardo told The Verge.

Zoo officials add that they will come up with a list of suitable names from which the public can choose.

Staffers haven't been able to determine the baby's gender, since Honi has been holding it so closely. Like newborn humans, the zoo notes, baby gorillas rely completely on their mothers for care.

The zoo also has two other male western lowland gorillas: 17-year-old Louis and 14-year-old Kuchimba, who is Honi's son.

With the Associated Press

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