After two months, and 11,000 votes, the Toronto Zoo has a name for their new baby gorilla.
Nassir, which means protector in Arabic, was given his new name after his father Charles was given the opportunity to choose from a list above five pails of some of his favourite foods.
On Nov. 18, zoo officials, local media, and spectators of all ages gathered in the African rainforest pavilion to watch the alpha male, Charles, choose the final five names chosen by the public in the zoo’s “Name the baby gorilla contest”.
The final names were: Nassirr, Neo (gift and new), Nico (victory of the people), Nigel (champion) and Nsambu (good fortune).
Charles was hesitant in making the decision, choosing to take the long way around the enclosed habitat before slowly walking over to the pails. The names were listed alphabetically, which made Nassir the first option Charles had in front of him.
“Charles has always been very analytical,” zoo interim CEO Peter Evans said.
Eventually Charles sat down in front of the pail under the name Nassir, reached out and grabbed a piece of fruit, confirming his choice for the baby’s new name.
Dr. William Rapley of the zoo says Western Lowland gorillas commonly found in Angola and Cameroon are classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation and Nature.
“[Nassir] is going to be one to watch,” said Aly, a Toronto zoo handler. “He is already showing a lot of personality and a lot of intelligences for this stage of his development.”
Nassir is the 17th offspring sired by Charles.