Voting is free, but fans also have the chance to help rescue and support threatened wildlife in Africa, including giraffes. A generous friend of the Dallas Zoo has agreed to match any donations made in the baby’s honor, up to $25,000. All donations will go to conservation efforts around the world.
CLICK HERE to vote now. Voting closes at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, and the name will be announced the next day. Katie and her calf continue to be streamed live online at Animal Planet L!VE at apl.tv.
“We’ve heard from many people around the world that say Katie and her baby are now a part of their family after witnessing this remarkable live birth on Animal Planet,” said Gregg Hudson, Dallas Zoo’s president and CEO. “We want those people to feel included in the calf’s name. We can’t wait to see which one is chosen.”
The zoo also has been overwhelmed with heartfelt requests to name the calf after loved ones: children lost to cancer, missing family members, relatives with autism who were touched deeply by the live birth, first responders who gave their lives in service of others, former zoo staffers, and more. However, given the number of requests, it simply wasn’t possible to recognize just one special person.
Instead, Katie’s keepers chose the three Swahili names, all with meanings that honor the spirit of those requests:
– Adia – “a gift” (pronounced uh-DEE-uh)
– Kanzi – “a treasure” (KAHN-zee)
– Kipenzi – “loved one” (kih-PEHN-zee)
“We have been profoundly touched by your stories, and we feel your grief and your pride,” Hudson said. “We have read every post, tweet and email, often with tears in our eyes. We hope those who have reached out will find comfort in knowing that the Dallas Zoo will always think of their loved ones as we care for this calf in the coming years.”
The Dallas Zoo has a recent policy of naming animals after their native home — for example, 5-month-old giraffe Kopano’s name means “united” — to further conservation messages about the plight of animals in the wild.
Mom Katie delivered the calf, weighing 139 pounds and standing 5 feet, 10 inches tall, live on Animal Planet television and Animal Planet L!VE streaming. Viewers cheered Katie on as she pushed for nearly an hour to deliver the calf, and over the next hours as the wobbly little one tried to stand, took her first steps and began nursing.
Every dime raised from donations linked to the vote will go to conservation efforts. Although the Dallas Zoo is a non-profit zoological park itself, we will use 100% of the donations for conservation efforts around the globe. The zoo partners with many organizations to save animals from extinction, including the Cheetah Conservation Fund, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the Tarangire Elephant Project, and more.