Zoo Fans Invited to Help Choose Giraffe Calf’s Name

The Indianapolis Zoo is inviting the public to participate in a Facebook poll to help choose a name for its newest addition, a male reticulated giraffe calf. Zookeepers have preselected three names and the option that receives the most votes will become the calf’s name.

The choices, along with their pronunciation and meaning, are:

Amazu (AH-mah-zoo), meaning “no one knows everything” in Nigerian;

Jengo (JANE-goe), a Swahili word meaning “building” or “construction”;

Mshangao (ma-SHAN-goe), meaning “amazement” or “surprise” in Swahili.

WHEN: The poll will open at 6am on Feb. 10, and voting will close at 11:59pm on Feb. 23. The results will be announced on Feb. 24.

WHERE: Voting will take place exclusively on the Indianapolis Zoo’s Facebook page.

WHO: Facebook users who like the Zoo’s page can vote once per day. Additionally, one lucky fan will be chosen at random to receive an Indianapolis Zoo prize pack, including a giraffe plush and four Zoo admission passes.

WHY: Born in the early morning hours of Jan. 9, the calf is the Zoo’s first baby of the new year and also the first giraffe born at the Zoo since 2011. He and 18-year-old mother Takasa are both doing well, and the spirited 1-month-old has been nursing regularly. He has also started nibbling and licking at the adults’ hay. Giraffe calves will nurse for up to one year, although youngsters can begin eating solid foods at around 4 or 5 months old. Zookeepers say the 6-foot-tall, 158-pound newborn is very curious and adventurous. He is aware of what is going on around him and watches the keepers cleaning and walking through the hallway. To protect the calf’s health, he and the rest of the giraffe herd will remain in a private, climate-controlled facility throughout the winter and the new family is expected to make its debut in the spring. At that time, 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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