R.I.P. Harambe, 1999 - 2016

Story highlights

Philadelphia Zoo clarified the naming process for new baby gorilla

Keepers, staff more concerned with caring for actual gorilla than dealing with online Harambe trolls

CNN  — 

The Philadelphia Zoo recently welcomed a little newborn baby gorilla, which is awesome! Zoo babies are great. They’re even going to let the public pick a name for the little tyke. Adorable. It’s a Western lowland gorilla you say? Wait, wasn’t that what…

Oh, no.

Aww, will you look at that?

The Philadelphia Zoo knows what you’re thinking, and no, they are not letting you name their precious little baby Harambe.

It’s been months since Harambe shuffled off this mortal coil after an unfortunate and widely discussed incident at the Cincinnati Zoo. Since then, the silverback gorilla has lived on in dark-humored memes so potent that the zoo had to close down its social media accounts to stop the onslaught of Harambe-related abuse.

Of course, when the Philadelphia Zoo announced the birth of the same type of gorilla, Harambe enthusiasts took the news to be positively messianic.

The Philadelphia Zoo will be having none of that, please and thank you. They’re not taking open name suggestions and they don’t know why anyone thought that in the first place.

“We never announced we were having a naming contest,” the zoo’s Chief Marketing Officer Amy Shearer told CNN. “What we are having is a voting opportunity for the community once we have better determined the gender of the baby and have worked internally with the team that has cared for the pregnancy and birth.”

Roger that. It looks like your monstrous dreams of Gorilla McGorillaFace are out the window as well.

Shearer says the zoo team isn’t focusing on the name at all yet, as they have more important things to attend to, like, say, the health and well-being of a newly-expanded gorilla family.

“We are just thrilled about the birth and how wonderful our team was and we are celebrating that birth,” she said.

Has the zoo staff been perturbed by the number of internet randos hammering home the Harambe suggestion?

“[We are aware] that people have an interest in naming this baby after another gorilla we’ve all come to know this past year, I totally understand where that’s coming from,” Shearer said. “We had actually a diverse set of suggestions not only online but through telephone calls and emails. We’ve gotten a tremendous amount of excitement and engagement.”

Shearer says it could be weeks before the naming process begins, and once the names are chosen the public will be invited to vote on their website.