April The Giraffe Baby Name Contest: Will 'Allysa's Choice' Or Gio Emerge As A Winner?

The April the giraffe baby name contest is now in its second phase, and two names may be among the favorites to emerge as the winner once the contest wraps up next week. What are these names, and why are people getting behind them?

One of the more curious names among the 10 finalists in the April the giraffe baby name contest is "Allysa's Choice," meaning that if this name ends up winning the contest, Animal Adventure Park zoologist Allysa Swilley gets to choose the name of April's calf. This was underscored in a Facebook post earlier today, which celebrated Allysa's birthday, as well as the second week since April the giraffe gave birth.

"Happy Birthday to your Favorite Giraffe Keeper..."

"...and a happy 2 week celebration of life for our calf!"

"Baby is thriving and growing!"

"Perhaps the best Birthday gift is Allysa's opportunity to name the baby?"

While there is a groundswell of support for Allysa Swilley amid the possibility she may end up naming April's calf, there have been some Facebook users who have complained that it wouldn't be fair that an Animal Adventure Park employee would have a say in choosing the name of April the giraffe's baby. Still, one Facebook commenter made her voice heard, saying that there's no better person than Allysa to name the calf, being that she had sacrificed so much to care for April and her baby over the past several months.
" Really people are so negative. Alyssa [sic] has been through thick and thin with April and baby and April loves Alyssa who better than her to name baby. Can't believe that I am feeding into the negativity this is so not me. But enough is enough. Alyssa name that baby!!!"
Aside from "Allysa's Choice," there are nine other finalists that made it past the first phase, and many of these names have a deeper, yet evident meaning to them. The names Patch and Patches are obvious allusions to Animal Adventure Park owner Jordan Patch, Harpur is short for AAP's home city of Harpursville, N.Y., Geoffrey is a tribute to the Toys R Us mascot, Ollie is a nickname for April's partner Oliver, and Apollo is a combination of the names April, Oliver, and "Little One." As for the name Gio, human interest may be the driving factor that made it one of the finalists in the April the giraffe baby name contest.According to a report from ABC News, that's the name of a 6-year-old giraffe lover from Massachusetts who died earlier this month after a battle with congenital heart disease. In his last days, Gio Maggiore stayed glued to the April the giraffe live cam, hoping to witness April giving birth, but wasn't able to live long enough to see it happen – he died on April 10, just five days before over a million giraffe cam viewers witnessed the extraordinary event.

Given Gio's notable fondness for giraffes – he had a giraffe pacifier and stuffed animals, as well as giraffe costumes – someone suggested to the Maggiore family that his name should be voted in during the April the giraffe baby name contest. The name eventually made it to the top 10 at the completion of the first phase, and Gio's father Chris Maggiore believes that regardless of the contest results, people are going to remember his son's name, just as he had wanted while he was still alive.

"Win, lose, name or no name, there's just going to be so many people that are going to know his name."
What are your thoughts on the name Gio, and would you vote for "Allysa's Choice" and allow April the giraffe's keeper to choose the baby's name? Do you prefer any of the other eight finalists, and if so, why? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

[Featured Image by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images]