BALTIMORE, MD – Introducing Violet! The Maryland Zoo’s newest chimpanzee was officially named today with the help of the Baltimore Ravens front office staff.

Violet was born to Raven on Dec. 29, 2019. She’s the second chimpanzee to be born at the Zoo in recent months after Lola was born in July 2019. Raven was born in the Zoo’s Chimpanzee Forest habitat in 1995 soon after the habitat opened

“As a longtime partner of The Maryland Zoo, we were happy to help welcome Violet to the Baltimore family,” said Brad Downs, Baltimore Ravens Vice President of Marketing. “Our organization and fans have embraced Rise and Conquer, so having the opportunity to be involved in the naming process for Violet was exciting. We can’t wait to meet her.”

Five name choices up for vote were chosen by the Chimpanzee Forest team and the Ravens. Nearly 50 front office employees at the Ravens headquarters including the marketing, corporate sales, digital media, broadcasting, community relations, public relations and finance teams voted on:

  • Corvina: Latin meaning “like a raven”
  • Morella: Title of short story by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Lenore: Character in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”
  • Kanoni: Swahili origin, meaning “little bird”
  • Violet: Latin for “purple”

“We’re so happy to be able to give her a name with the help of the Ravens, as a way to honor the team and the city’s history,” said Margaret Innes, assistant general curator. “As well as serving as a reminder of the support the Zoo receives from the Ravens football organization, Violet’s name will help our visitors get to know her as an individual and an important ambassador for wild chimpanzees, not just as the newest member of the troop.”

Violet is still much smaller than baby Lola, who shows a lot of interest and curiosity in her newest troop member. Violet spends all of her time cradled in her mom’s arms, sleeping and nursing. Chimp babies usually weigh 2-3 pounds at birth. Violet is estimated to weigh around 4 pounds now.

Developmental milestones are similar to those for human babies. The care team will monitor the baby for important successes, such as the ability to hold her head up on her own, for her to use her fingers and toes to grasp things, learning vocalizations and facial expressions, and teething.

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.

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.

There are currently 14 chimpanzees in The Maryland Zoo’s troop including the newborn. Raven, Violet, Bunny and Lola can often be seen in the indoor section of the Chimpanzee Forest habitat.

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