The Philadelphia Zoo has announced the name of its brand-new baby gorilla: Amani.
As part of a contest hosted by the zoo in which participants could cast a vote for every dollar they donated, the name — which means “peace” in Swahili — beat contenders Isangi, Mapendo, and Muyisa by a landslide.
The contest started about a month ago, when the zoo first had the (regrettable) idea of opening the naming up to social media users, and the city unsurprisingly and unsuccessfully campaigned for Harambe, the name of the 17-year-old gorilla shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo in May when a toddler sneaked into its pen.
For its next attempt, the zoo partnered with Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center, an organization based in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The names of four orphaned gorillas currently living at GRACE’s sanctuary were selected for the contest. The zoo provided some info on the Amani living in the DRC:
Amani is named after an 8-year-old gorilla who lives at GRACE and who was rescued in 2009 as part of a 3-month investigation by the Congolese wildlife authority. She was being offered for sale while stuffed into a plastic bag and was found dehydrated and with a bullet in her leg, a result of the poaching event that killed her family. Amani, which means “peace”, received her name because her rescue was facilitated by U.N. peacekeepers working in eastern DRC. Amani’s leg is permanently disabled as a result of her injury, but she now has a good life at GRACE. She lives up to her peaceful name, as she is the gentlest gorilla in the group. She loves to play with the younger gorillas and make peace after conflicts between group members.
The zoo is matching the money collected through the contest, $6,600, and donating a total of $13,200 to GRACE to support its conservation work.
Amani and her mother, Honi, are currently living in the zoo’s PECO primate reserve.
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