The Akron Zoo is holding a naming contest for its new white-cheeked gibbon infant. The contest, presented by Akron Children’s Hospital, runs Wednesday, Jan. 12 – Wednesday, Jan. 26. The public can vote on a name at akronzoo.org/naming-contest.
The five names are gender-neutral as the sex of the baby is unknown at this time. Gibbon infants cling to their mothers for the first few months, and zoo staff is hands-off with the baby. The names choices are Lolani, Keo, Kanoa, Rou and Jinzi.
The two names with the most votes as of Jan. 26 will be painted on enrichment and presented to the zoo’s gibbon family. The enrichment item that Parker or Milo, the gibbon parents, touch first will be the baby’s final name.
The zoo’s female gibbon, Parker, gave birth to the baby on Thursday, Dec. 9. This is the first new baby born in the zoo’s new area, Lehner Family Foundation Wild Asia, which opened in May 2021. This is also the first gibbon birth in the Akron Zoo’s history.
White-cheeked gibbons are critically endangered due to habitat loss, mainly from deforestation to create palm oil plantations. The zoo’s gibbon pair, Parker and male Milo, made their debut at the Akron Zoo with the opening of Wild Asia.
“The birth of our white-cheeked gibbon infant has been a major milestone for us at the Akron Zoo,” said Doug Piekarz, president & CEO at the Akron Zoo. “I’m excited to see what name the public and our gibbon parents select for the baby. I am also grateful for the support from our wonderful partners at Akron Children’s Hospital.”
"Akron Children's Hospital is proud to once again partner with the Akron Zoo, an outstanding regional asset for our community's children,” said Akron Children’s Hospital President and CEO Christopher Gessner. “We look forward to celebrating the name of this white-cheeked gibbon and watching this endangered species grow its population right here in Akron. I am sure this baby will bring us all great joy for many years to come."