A female Gorilla born at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden on August 25 is extra special – she is the 50th Gorilla to be born at the zoo, and her name reflects her unique status.
Photo Credit: Jeff McCurry
The baby will be called Elle after zoo keepers submitted two names for an online vote. The name Elle grabbed two-thirds of the 2,500 votes.
“It is a very rare thing for any zoo to have 50 babies born and we wanted that to be recognized in the baby’s name,” said Ron Evans, Curator of Primates at the Cincinnati Zoo.
The letter L is the Roman numeral for 50. Elle, which is how the name will be spelled, means girl. The keepers thought that the name was fitting, and voters agreed. Goldie, suggested because gold is representative of 50, was the other choice.
There are about 765 Gorillas in zoos worldwide including approximately 360 in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Program (SSP) for this species. Western Lowland Gorillas are critically endangered in the wild, with less than 175,000 individuals remaining. Due primarily to habitat destruction caused by logging, mineral mining and agricultural expansion, wild Gorilla numbers continue to shrink. The bushmeat trade – the killing of wild animals to be used as human food – is also a major threat to the western lowland Gorilla population throughout the Central African rainforests. Over 1,000 Gorillas are illegally poached for the bushmeat trade each year.
See more photos of Elle below.