Prague Zoo to unveil name of newborn endangered gorilla after mass poll

After narrowing down 60 suggestions from Cameroonian children, the Czech public has chosen its three favorite names for the baby gorilla.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 09.02.2024 15:07:00 (updated on 09.02.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague Zoo on Saturday, Feb. 10 will officially announce the name of its newborn female lowland gorilla that was born on the second day of 2024. The zoo created a shortlist of 60 suggested names from Cameroonian children at the partnered Dja Biosphere Reserve in the Central African country, and the Czech public has helped narrow the choice to three names: Mobi, Ekiba, and Mosâmom.

The Dja Reserve will at 2 p.m. host the public “christening” of the animal, whose species is currently endangered. Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda and Deputy Mayor for the Environment Jana Komrsková will be in attendance. Admission prices to the zoo will be unchanged.

The zoo says it has taken special measures to ensure that this gorilla receives a meaningful and significant name, which will be in the Badjoué dialect (spoken by an ethnic group inhabiting the rainforest zone of southeastern Cameroon). 

A range of African names

The zoo narrowed down the list to 10 names in Badjoué: Alomo, Boyô, Ekiba, Koh'Eloo'h, Mamene, Mbia, Mbupomo, Mobi, Mosâmom, and Somalomo. Tens of thousands of people then voted for their three favorite names.

The three possible names for the baby gorilla all carry different meanings. Mobi means “heiress,” Ekiba roughly translates to “acknowledgment,” and the meaning of Mosâmom is “the one whose birth marks the end of the war between humans and animals.”

Ensuring gorillas are protected

One of the reasons for the public event Saturday, zoo director Miroslav Bobek says, is to raise awareness of the lowland gorilla’s engendered status. Prague Zoo participates in the protection and conservation of lowland gorillas in Africa by cooperating with the Dja Biosphere Reserve.

According to the zoo, Duni and Kisumu – parents of the baby gorilla – have been diligently caring for their daughter for over three weeks. Duni is the daughter of one of the most famous gorillas associated with the zoo – Moji – who was the first ever gorilla born in Prague.

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This is very much a family-friendly event: the zoo’s Dja Reserve will offer free face painting between midday and 4 p.m., as well as a game station from 10 a.m. The zoo will also offer guided tours of the zoo’s current gorillas, at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.

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