The recent article on Louisville.com about the Louisville Zoo's contest to name their new giraffe has made me ponder what goes into a good baby giraffe name.
Before brainstorming a suitable name for the zoo's tallest bundle of joy, I took a look at the giraffe's own lineage. His mom is 22 and named Mariah and she robbed the cradle of the much younger baby daddy, Walker, who is only 16 years old. They both appear to have rather "current" names, so I took a look at the top 2009 baby names for some inspiration. Rounding out the top of the list for boy names were Ethan, Noah and Jacob. These are great names, but seem a little too common for such a special baby. (Although I'm one to talk about picking common names- "Jack" is number 7 on the list.)
Should it be something cutesy and clever? Maybe something like "Stretch" or "Tiny" could work, but I don't want this giraffe to be made fun of by the other animals at the zoo for having such a lame name.
I then decided to ask around for some advice from people I know. Some parents in my playgroup suggested "Jimbo", which seems a bit too "elephanty" to me. Zach Everson nominated "Polpot" which is nice, but I don't usually associate the Khmer Rouge with baby giraffes. And finally my sister threw the name "Bertram" into the mix, which just doesn't excite me.
Finally, I decided to check out more on where giraffes come from for the name inspiration. The baby is a Masai giraffe, which predominantly come from the southern region of Kenya and Tanzania. Since the main language spoken in those countries is Swahili, I thought about using something meaningful in that language to name the giraffe.
I did some research and looked up some translations of Swahili names (I'm not even going to pretend that I speak Swahili) and found out that the name "Coujoe" means "Monday born". This would be cute because our little giraffe was born on Monday, January 11th. However, there's something about "Coujoe" which reminds me of the Stephen King book "Cujo" which is about that crazy, rabid dog (I've been scared of St. Bernards ever since).
Finally, the name "Heri" (pronounced like "Harry") stood out to me. In Swahili, "Heri" means "blessing or happiness" which seemed totally appropriate for one of the newest additions to the Louisville Zoo. Also, since the name "Harry" is gaining popularity again in the U.S., this giraffe wouldn't feel out of place with the other giraffes that he'll go to school with.
We have until Friday at 5 pm to send over our name suggestion to the zoo. Check here for more information on the giraffe and the Louisville Zoo's contest. As of today, my pick is "Heri" but I'm open to other suggestions. What would be your choices on what to name the new baby giraffe?
Photo: courtesy of The Louisville Zoo