Picked by popular vote in an online naming contest

BALTIMORE, MD – Introducing Lola! The Maryland Zoo’s newest chimpanzee was officially named today.

Lola, a female chimpanzee, was born to Bunny on July 5, 2019. The tiny month-old can be seen being carried and cradled by her mom inside the Zoo’s Chimpanzee Forest habitat.

The Zoo held a public online naming contest for the baby, which ended on Thursday, August 8. The name Lola beat out three other contenders: Afia, Kit and Zalika.

The Chimpanzee Forest animal care team came up with the name options based on details surrounding the baby’s birth, and as a play on her mother, Bunny’s name. Bunny’s name comes from her birthday, which was on Easter, April 15, 1990.

Lola is the name of the female rabbit character featured in a number of Looney Tunes cartoons alongside Bugs Bunny.

“We’re so happy she officially has a name now,” said Pam Carter, Chimpanzee Forest area manager. “Animal care staff will use individual names, especially during training sessions. The chimpanzees all recognize their own names as well as each other’s name.”

Lola is one of 13 chimpanzees at the Zoo. She’s estimated to weigh about four pounds, and looks much like a miniature version of her mom.

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are classified as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. One of the greatest threats to the wild chimpanzees is loss of habitat, the African forest, from commercial logging, agriculture and fires. Poaching and disease also put the wild population at risk.

“Another reason we give recognizable names to animals in our care is that it helps create a unique bond between the animal and our visitors,” said Margaret Rose-Innes, assistant general curator. “We hope that if they learn to care for the individual, they will also care about what we are doing to save that species, which is so important not just for our future generations, but also for the future of Lola’s wild cousins.” The birth is the result of a recommendation from the Chimpanzee Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs provide breeding recommendations to maximize genetic diversity, with the goal of ensuring the long-term survival of the population and the health of individual animals.

In honor of the big debut, the Zoo will offer “Everyone’s a Kid Day,” Friday, August 9 through Sunday, August 11. All Zoo tickets will be sold at the children’s price of $17.99. The promotion is available only at the Zoo’s Main Gate.

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