April the giraffe’s baby has finally been named, and it appears that the name was chosen by none other than April’s keeper herself, Allysa Swilley.
As confirmed by WFLA, Animal Adventure Park announced the winning name in the April the giraffe baby name contest on the 8-9 a.m. hour of Good Morning America. The name of April’s calf, Tajiri, comes from the Swahili word for “hope,” and the fact that the name was not among the 10 finalists suggests that it was indeed Allysa who named the calf, meaning her choice won the baby name contest, just as many were hoping for.
In the lead-up to the announcement of the April the giraffe baby name contest winner, Animal Adventure Park Facebook followers were still very vocal in their support for “Allysa’s Choice,” a name candidate that would leave the responsibility of naming the calf to Allysa Swilley. With Allysa having celebrated her birthday on Saturday, AAP followers began to step up in earnest, publicly announcing their plans to vote for her to name April’s calf. However, some felt that by doing so, this would put an unnecessary burden on the young zoologist, and possibly expose her to the chance of “rude” comments if people don’t like the name she chooses.
“Just my humble opinion folks but has anyone really given thought to this & the burden it would put on Allysa? Yes, it’s a nice gesture. However, you know how some are. They will be making all kinds of rude comments to her & about her, if they don’t like the name she selects. Why put that burden on Allysa? I simply don’t think it’s fair to do that to her. We love you Allysa!”
April the Giraffe's newborn finding the camera for his first selfie pic.twitter.com/BtzTPpDUQS
— Hawkeye KSCS DJ (@HawkeyeOnAir) April 21, 2017
As the Inquisitr had reported last week, there were 10 names chosen as finalists in the April the giraffe baby name contest. Aside from “Allysa’s Choice,” Apollo, Geoffrey, Gio, Harpur, Noah, Ollie, Patch, Patches, and Unity were among the most popular names from the first round of voting. Apollo was an early favorite just a few days after April’s calf was born, with the name being a combination of the calf’s parent’s names (APril and OLiver) and the calf’s status as a “Little One.” Patch and Patches were also among the early contenders, as these names are a nod to Animal Adventure Park owner Jordan Patch and his family. Likewise, Harpur was simply a shortcut for Harpursville, the New York town where AAP is located, and well-liked by a lot of the park’s followers early on in the voting.
Some names, such as Wyatt (why’s it taking so long for April to give birth?) and Phoenix (rising from the ashes of negativity), were quite popular before the voting actually started, but failed to make the top 10.
— Joan E. (@JJoanenglish) April 27, 2017
The other finalist names had also evoked an air of simplicity — Geoffrey is the name of Animal Adventure Park giraffe cam sponsor Toys R Us’ mascot, Ollie is short for Oliver, Unity represents how thousands, and ultimately more than a million giraffe cam viewers were united while waiting for April the giraffe to give birth. Noah, on the other hand, represents April’s baby growing up in an “ark” of animals in Animal Adventure Park, while also meaning “peaceful” in Hebrew.
The name Gio, while seemingly not having any significance in the light of April’s pregnancy and the unifying experience brought by Animal Adventure Park’s giraffe cam, made it to the top 10 thanks to a human-interest story — the untimely death of six-year-old Massachusetts boy Giovanni “Gio” Maggiore. Gio, who was known for his love of giraffes, died on April 10 from a congenital heart defect, five days before April the giraffe gave birth, according to ABC News.
— Jamie Sullivan (@JamieSullivanTV) May 1, 2017
— Erica Powers (@ericalenee13) May 1, 2017
So far, reactions to the name Tajiri, as well as his nickname “Taj,” have been mostly positive, as seen on the above tweets and several Facebook comments on AAP’s official page.
“What a great name! Tajiri means hope. I am a breast cancer survivor and always have hope for a cure and confidant we will. So I can relate!”
“Before we knew he was a boy, my name was HOPE, but felt it wasn’t gender appropriate, BUT you came up with a perfect name which still means HOPE. Awesome Job Allysa.”
On the other hand, there have been some negative feedback on the name in the hours since Animal Adventure Park made the baby name contest reveal on Good Morning America, such as this woman’s Facebook comment.
“Has anyone else looked this name up? The only definitions I could find had to do with money and wealth. And I am NOT trying to be a Debbie Downer. I really want to be wrong here.”
What are your thoughts on Tajiri winning the April the giraffe baby name contest? Did you have another name in mind from the list of 10 finalists, and why did you prefer that name over the others? Let us know in the comments below.
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]