PHILADELPHIA– It wasn’t long after the Philadelphia Zoo announced the addition of a newborn gorilla that many online recommended naming it Harambe.
That’s the name of the gorilla shot and killed by staff at the Cincinnati Zoo after a 3-year-old boy got into the enclosure on May 28.
On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Zoo debuted a baby western lowland gorilla, born on Aug. 26. It also announced a naming contest for the little one.
Twitter and Facebook users were quick to submit their ideas, which included Harambe, Harambe Jr., Harambe II, Ebmarah and Harry M. Bee. You get the picture.
Hours later, the Philadelphia Zoo clarified fans would be able to vote from a list of pre-approved names.
“In the coming weeks, as the baby’s gender is determined, we will be working with our thoughtful and committed keeper staff to develop suggested names that we would like help from our community in finalizing. So please stay tuned – once we have names for consideration, we will let you know so that you can weigh in and vote for your favorite,” the zoo said.
Harambe evolved into an Internet sensation after his passing, becoming the focus of memes and even a petition to rename of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 17-year-old gorilla’s memory. But the Cincinnati Zoo does not appreciate the jokes.
“We are not amused by the memes, petitions and signs about Harambe. Our zoo family is still healing, and the constant mention of Harambe makes moving forward more difficult for us. We are honoring Harambe by redoubling our gorilla conservation efforts and encouraging others to join us,” zoo director Thayne Maynard told the Associated Press last week.
The zoo even deactivated its Twitter account.