How you can help name the newest baby at the Assiniboine Park Zoo

Zoo welcome new baby gibbon (Source: Assiniboine Park Zoo)

The Assiniboine Park Zoo is celebrating the addition of a brand new member of its extended animal family, a baby gibbon.

On Wednesday, the zoo released the first pictures of the baby who's believed to be male. He was born March 10 to parents Maya and Samson. It is the couple’s second child. His older sister Salju was born at the zoo in February of 2019.

"He is a little bundle of joy, that's for sure," said Fran Donnelly, the lead animal care professional in the Asia section of the zoo, which includes the gibbons. "He is full of squeaks since the day he was born. And he is growing more and more fur every day, it's very cute."

Gibbons are part of the great ape family. Due to their smaller size, they are known as lesser apes. Donnelly says they are also known as trapeze artists.

"They swing through those branches super fast, and do lots of flips and daredevil turns," she said.

The new baby won't be doing that, at least not yet. Donnelly says he mostly hangs on his mother, and is currently working on moving around his little arms.

He also isn't able to answer to his name, because he doesn't have one yet! And that's where the public comes in. The zoo has set up an online poll for people to cast their ballots. You can choose between four names:

  • Mozart – named after the famed composer;
  • Merrick – a name meaning fame, power or ruler;
  • Mele – a Hawaiian song or chant; and
  • Manas – a name meaning intelligence or mind.

"This time we went with an “M” themed name to honour Maya's family," said Donnelly. "All of her family started with M. Her dad was Mel, her mom was Madju and her brother was Manny, so we thought we would keep it in the family."

The poll is now open, and you can vote here. You have until this Sunday at midnight to vote.Results will be announced on Monday, April 12th.