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Dutch office in Taiwan wins race to name baby gorilla

'Jabali' means 'strong as a rock' in Swahili and refers to a long life in Hokkien

Tayari holding Jabali at the Taipei Zoo  

Tayari holding Jabali at the Taipei Zoo   (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The first gorilla to be born at the Taipei Zoo in its 106-year history will bear the name “Jabali” proposed by the representative office of the Netherlands after it came out on top in an online popularity vote, the zoo announced Saturday (Dec. 19).

The name means “strong as a rock” in Swahili but can also be interpreted as a reference to wishing somebody a long life in Hokkien, literally meaning “eat 120” (呷百二), CNA reported.

After the gorilla Tayari gave birth to a baby boy on Oct. 31, the zoo launched an online contest for members of the public to choose between different names. The Dutch office proposed one because the country supplied Tayari. Its Apenheul Primate Park, where the mother lived until last year, suggested “Mapenzi” or “lively.”

As the baby gorilla’s father came from Poland, the Polish office submitted “Ringo” and the Shin Kong Life Foundation came up with “Kwanza,” the Swahili term for “the first.”

In the end, Jabali received 1,004 votes, leaving Mapenzi far behind with 228 votes. Ringo finished third ahead of Kwanza, the Taipei Zoo said.

Updated : 2022-05-29 05:08 GMT+08:00