A baby western lowland gorilla at the Philadelphia Zoo will be named Amani after thousands of people from across the world voted in an online contest, the Zoo announced Monday.
Amani, which means "peace" in Swahili, won with 6,600 votes. Amani, who was born in August, is the daughter of Honi, a 22-year-old female gorilla, and Motuba, the Zoo’s resident silverback, with whom she is living at the Zoo.
“We are thrilled that people around the world showed their support by helping to name our gorilla Amani and supporting orphaned gorillas at GRACE,” Kim Lengel, the Zoo’s VP for Conservation and Education, said in a statement.”
The contest was tied to a fundraising contest for Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE), a center in the Democratic Republic of Congo that protects endangered gorillas from poachers. Voters paid $1 per vote, and the Zoo matched the $6,600 raised by voters for a total of $13,200 donated to GRACE.
All of the naming options were based on different gorilla at GRACE.
Amani will be named after a Grauer’s gorilla (also known as the eastern lowland gorilla) at GRACE who was rescued after poachers killed off her family. She was rescued in 2009, found being offered for sale while stuffed into a plastic bag, dehydrated and with a bullet in her leg, according to the zoo. While she lost use of her leg, she is now leading a normal life at GRACE.
“Grauer’s gorillas are on the brink of extinction, so raising awareness is critical,” said GRACE executive director Dr. Sonya Kahlenberg in a news release. “We look forward to watching little Amani as she grows!”