Welcome, Mshangao! Indianapolis Zoo reveals name for baby giraffe

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Photo of new giraffe calf courtesy of the Indianapolis Zoo

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 24, 2016) – The Indianapolis Zoo’s new giraffe now has a name.

After more than 4,000 votes during a two-week Facebook poll, Mshangao (ma-SHAN-goe) emerged as the winning entry. It’s a Swahili word meaning “amazement” or “surprise.” Voting began on Feb. 10 and wrapped up Tuesday.

Mshangao is the sixth calf for his mother, 18-year-old Takasa. The “spunky newcomer” is now nearly seven weeks old and doing well, according to zoo officials. He’s nursing regularly and has already started chewing on tree trimmings that are part of the adults’ diet. Calves typically begin eating solid foods after four or five months.

He’s slowly being introduced to his new surroundings, and was able to take advantage of the warm weekend weather in a private yard. Zookeepers will introduce him to the Plaints exhibit, and guests will have the opportunity for an up-close meeting during public feeds later this spring.

Other name options for Mshangao were Amazu (AH-mah-zoo), meaning “no one knows everything” in Nigerian, and Jengo (JANE-goe), a Swahili word meaning “building” or “construction.”

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