ROYAL OAK — Mpenzi — a Swahili word meaning “love” — is the name chosen by the community for the Detroit Zoo’s male reticulated giraffe calf born Sept. 30.
After receiving thousands of name suggestions, the Detroit Zoological Society invited the public to vote among five finalists, while supporting giraffe conservation. The online vote-by-donation opportunity, which ended Tuesday, determined the winning moniker. Mpenzi garnered the greatest amount of money, beating Ajabu (“wonderful”), Amani (“peace”), Kijana (“young man”) and Zawadi (“gift”).
“The community is understandably very excited about our newest little giraffe,” says Scott Carter, Detroit Zoological Society chief life sciences officer. “We wanted to take that positive energy, and do something that would help giraffes in the wild. Raising money for giraffe conservation by letting our community choose the calf’s name is a great way to deliver on our mission.”
The community’s gift of $1,141 will be donated to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation — whose goal is to ensure a sustainable future where all giraffe populations are protected and secure in the wild —, along with an additional $5,000 conservation grant from the Detroit Zoological Society.