Thanks to memes, songs and all manner of internet humor, Harambe, the Western Lowlands gorilla who was shot and killed back in May after a child fell into the gorilla's enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, has not been forgotten. Now Harambe's name may live on in the form of a newborn gorilla on the other side of the world.
A baby gorilla at China's Jinhua Zoo will reportedly be named "Harambe McHarambeface" after internet pranksters flooded an online public vote with write-in ballots for the parody name, according to the Boston Leader, which picked up the story from Chinese-language media Tuesday. The report said that "Harambe McHarambeface" received more than 93 percent of the nearly 80,000 online votes cast.
The oddball name is a mash-up of "Harambe," the name of the gorilla shot in May in order to protect a small child who fell into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, and "Boaty McBoatface," the name internet pranksters attempted to bestow on a British research vessel. Zoo officials said that "Harambe McHarambeface" would stand as the English name for the gorilla, but, since that can not be translated into Chinese, the name for the gorilla in China will be "Heijin."
The death of Harambe sparked outrage on the internet from many who believed shooting the rare gorilla was not a necessary measure. Cincinnati zoo officials, however, maintained there was no other way to ensure the safety of a young boy who fallen into the enclosure only to be picked up and carried around by the 400-pound animal.
In the weeks and months that followed, Harambe became an internet sensation, with jokesters on the internet ironically paying tribute to the gorilla in the form of internet memes and tweets. The meme, which has been analyzed for its social commentary on irreverence, internet overreaction and sincerity, has been declared the "meme of the summer" for 2016.
Meanwhile, back in March, internet trolls appeared to have scored a victory when, much like the Jinhua Zoo's naming contest, the British Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) announced a contest to name a new research vessel. The write-in name "Boaty McBoatface" emerged as the winner. However, NERC ultimately decided not to use the humorous name, instead opting for the much more conventional "RSS Sir David Attenborough," named after the famous naturalist. Many people protested NERC's rejection of its own poll's result.
Earlier this month, the Philadelphia Zoo announced that they would take a public poll to name a new baby gorilla of their own. The internet quickly responded, flooding the zoo’s social media channels with requests for Harambe Jr. or Harambe II, but the zoo wisely decided not to allow an option for write-in candidates.