Phoenix Zoo’s baby giraffe shares name with ‘Lion King’ character

Jul 30, 2018, 10:40 AM | Updated: 1:46 pm
(Phoenix Zoo Photo)...
(Phoenix Zoo Photo)
(Phoenix Zoo Photo)

PHOENIX — After nearly 16,000 votes were cast, the Phoenix Zoo’s month-old giraffe has a name.

The zoo put seven Swahili words up for a public vote, and the winner by a landslide was Rafiki, which means friend.

It probably didn’t hurt that Rafiki was also the name of a beloved character in “The Lion King.”

The other choices were Asili (nature), Jasiri (brave), Kivuli (shadow), Mwishowe (finally/eventually), Nyusi (eyebrows) and Subira (patience).

Rafiki ran away with it, getting the nod from nearly 40 percent of the voters.

In the end, 6,244 of the 15,928 votes cast were for Rafiki. Jasiri was next with 4,810 votes, followed by Subira with 1,667.

The Masai giraffe calf, who was born June 26, hasn’t made her public debut yet. She has been bonding in the barn with her 7-year-old mother, Imara.

Zoo officials hope mom and baby will be out roaming the Savanna habitat soon.

After more than a decade without a giraffe being born at the zoo, Rafiki was the second calf to arrive in less than a year.

In September, a Masai giraffe called Sunshine gave birth to a female calf named Siku. She was the first giraffe born at the zoo in 12 years.

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Phoenix Zoo’s baby giraffe shares name with ‘Lion King’ character