A zoo in Oita, Japan, apologized Thursday for naming a baby monkey "Charlotte" after the decision met with outcry from people who said the name insulted the British royal family. The Mount Takasaki Wild Monkey Park (aka Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden) told Agence France-Presse it was considering renaming its newborn macaque monkey.
"Since we announced the name we've been receiving calls and emails from people mostly complaining that it is rude to British people," an anonymous zoo official said. "This morning a TV commentator said he thinks it is all right, but most voices are against the idea."
The zoo has a tradition to let the public choose what to call the first macaque monkey born every year. This year, nobody had voted in the poll for "Charlotte" until Monday night, when Britain's Prince William and Duchess Kate of Cambridge disclosed the name of their new daughter, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. "The name was publicly solicited and Charlotte suddenly became the most popular choice -- with 59 votes out of the total 853 -- after the British baby princess's name was announced," the official told AFP.
Other suggested names included "Elsa," after a princess in the animated Disney movie "Frozen," and "Kei," after Kei Nishikori, one of the world's top tennis players, Kyodo News reported.
Complaints came in droves Wednesday, with some people arguing that Japanese citizens would be upset if the situation were reversed, the Associated Press reported. But zoo worker Akira Asano said that none of the angry responses were from British citizens.
All the same, the zoo was considering changing Charlotte's name Thursday. "We deeply apologize for causing trouble to many people over the naming of the first baby (monkey)," the zoo wrote in a statement. "We take these opinions seriously."
Last spring, Charlotte's older brother, Prince George, met a marsupial that an Australian zoo had named after him. The prince "squealed in delight," ABC News reported.