TORONTO — A healthy Masai giraffe was born at the Toronto Zoo in May has been affectionately called “Baby Long Legs,”—but now the zoo wants the public’s help in choosing a more permanent name for their newest family member.
The female calf was born to Mstari, a six-year-old female giraffe, and Kiko, a seven-year-old male who moved to the Toronto Zoo from South Carolina in 2015.
The zoo has compiled a list of eight potential names for the calf, all of which were chosen in collaboration with Mr. Sunir Chandaria, Honorary Consul of Kenya in Toronto.
Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors and Co-Founder of Giants of Africa, helped launch the naming campaign over social media.
“My mother comes from Kenya, which is where these beautiful animals live,” Ujiri said in a video posted on the Toronto Zoo’s Facebook page. “I know many of you may not get the chance to visit Africa to see them in the wild, but I hope that seeing Baby Long Legs on the zoo’s webcam or maybe during a visit will inspire you to learn more about these endangered giraffes, their habitat and the beautiful continent where they live.”
The names, which are all in Swahili, a language spoken in much of eastern and southern Africa, are as follows:
- Amani, meaning peace
- Jani, meaning leaf
- Mapenzi, meaning love
- Matumaini, meaning hope
- Mosi, meaning first-born
- Moyo, meaning heart
- Umoja, meaning unity
- Zahara, meaning flower
“My personal favourite of the names is, of course, Zahara, the name of my daughter,” Ujiri added. “But I encourage you to choose your favourite.”
Regardless of the public’s choice, Baby Long Legs will also be given the last name of Innis Dagg, in honour of Canadian Zoologist Dr. Anne Innis Dagg, who is credited as being the first to study wild giraffes.
The winning name will be announced on World Giraffe Day on June 21.