Vistors to Sunset Zoo can donate to name baby chimpanzee


The Sunset Zoo is holding a naming contest for its baby chimpanzee in an effort to raise money for primate conservation.

The chimp was born Aug. 18, and there are four Swahili names with translations to choose from. To vote, contributors donate money in a box with their favorite name. The choices are Adia, meaning gift, Kanzi, meaning treasure, Siri, meaning secret, and Amali, meaning hope.

“I think the chimpanzee should be named Amali because the proceeds are going to the conservation of all chimpanzees,” said Kelsey McClelland, sophomore in journalism and mass communications.

Susie, the mother of the newborn chimpanzee, is the oldest chimp on record to have given birth. She is 56 years old and is the third-oldest living chimp. According to the zoo’s website, Susie was taken off of birth control because of concerns about medical issues. People were not expecting such an old chimpanzee to get pregnant and give birth, said Allie Lousch, director of marketing and development at the Sunset Zoo.

“Chimpanzees age at the same rate as humans, so it’s just like a 56-year-old woman giving birth. It’s extraordinary,” she said.

The father of the newborn chimp, Julian, has lived at the Sunset Zoo for about four years.

“As an accredited zoo, we don’t encourage them to breed,” Lousch said.

To contribute to the naming contest of the chimpanzee, visit the Ballard Gallery at the Sunset Zoo located by the chimps and drop money into one of the four name boxes.

When asked what is an appropriate donation to put in the name box, Lousch said, “Pocket change, dollars, whatever it takes to contribute to the naming.”

The zoo has had other naming contests including ZOOlection ‘08, which raised $200 toward the conservation of African primates, as well as Two Cool Cubs, which raised $300 toward conservation.

Voting continues through Oct. 24, and all proceeds go to the Pan African Sanctuary, which works for the conservation of many African primates.