Fans Choose Mshangao for Giraffe Calf’s Name

WHAT:     It was a close decision, but the Indianapolis Zoo is excited to announce that Mshangao (ma-SHAN-goe) has been chosen as the name for the Zoo’s male reticulated giraffe calf. The Zoo’s Facebook fans were invited to choose from three options that were preselected by Zookeepers, and Mshangao received about 39 percent of the votes in the recently concluded poll. The name means “amazement” or “surprise” in Swahili.

WHEN:     Voting began on Wednesday, Feb. 10, and ended on Tuesday, Feb. 23. The winning name was announced publically earlier today.

WHERE:   The big announcement was made on the Indianapolis Zoo’s Facebook page.

WHO:       Nearly 4,000 votes were tallied during the two-week timeframe. Thousands of people from across North America voted in the poll, although the majority were Facebook fans from throughout Central Indiana.

WHY:        Born in the early morning hours of Jan. 9, Mshangao is the sixth calf for 18-year-old motherTakasa. Now nearly 7 weeks old, the spunky newcomer is growing healthy and strong. Zookeepers say he enjoys romping around the giraffe barn throughout the day and cozying up to his aunt Ajabusana (AJ), the Zoo’s other female giraffe. Mshangao continues to nurse regularly, and while it typically takes four to five months for newborns to begin eating solid foods, the Zoo’s calf has already started chewing on tree trimmings that are part of the adults’ diet. Mshangao has also discovered how to use his long, prehensile tongue to strip the bark from bigger branches — an important skill for giraffes. Taking advantage of the warm weekend temperatures, the 6-foot-tall, 158-pound youngster started venturing outside to a private yard. As weather permits, keepers will begin introducing Mshangao to the Plains exhibit where, later this spring, guests will have an opportunity to meet members of the herd up close during public feeds. The giraffe exhibit and feedings are presented by Meijer. Indianapolis Zoo babies are presented by Hendricks Regional Health.

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