Should We Name the Franklin Park Zoo’s New Zebra ‘Papi’?

The Zoo is hosting a naming poll with a selection of Red Sox themed choices.

grevys zebra foal 2, Sarah Woodruff

Zoo New England/Sarah Woodruff

On October 16, Franklin Park Zoo zebra residents Evita and Menelik welcomed a baby Grevy zebra foal into the world, and good parents that they are, they’re doing two things right: First, they’re pretty settled on naming their baby after a Boston Red Sox player, and second, they’re ceding the final decision to the internet. Parents of newborns, take note!

The Franklin Park Zoo has had success drawing attention to new births with a public naming contest, so they’re at it again. The Zoo’s Facebook page is hosting a poll where people can vote on whether to name the new zebra one of four things: Koji, Papi, Jakobi (a word used in West Africa meaning star), and Hodari (which is Swahili for “strong, powerful.”) If you’re like us, you assumed that with David Ortiz’s recent World Series performances, “Papi” would be in the lead. And if not, then Koji Uehara’s multiple saves would give him an edge.

But actually, Jakobi is way out in front, as of this writing, with 45 percent of the votes cast. It makes sense since it combines the Red Sox theme (think Jacoby) with something more reflective of the zebra’s natural origins. Zoos are for educational purposes more than the housing of mascots, after all. Speaking of which, we’ve learned from this little exercise that Grevy zebras are endangered in their native land of Kenya and Ethiopia thanks to poaching and habitat loss. “Currently in the wild, the species number less than 2,700 individuals, a significant loss from more than 15,000 animals reported in the late 1970s,” the zoo reports in a press release.  You can vote through November 1, and see your handiwork once the zebra goes on display.


Image Credit: Zoo New England/Sarah Woodruff