Brookfield, Ill.—On November 4, 2013, a very special birth occurred at Brookfield Zoo: a female western lowland gorilla was born to 18-year-old mom Koola. But the inquisitive little great ape still does not have a name. The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages the zoo, is asking for the public’s help in selecting a name that she’ll gobananas over.

The primate staff and Stuart Strahl, Ph.D., the Society’s president and CEO, have selected four names. Those wishing to help in the naming can cast votes on the zoo’s Web site at The names are:

  • Alima—which is a river in the Republic of Congo, where western lowland gorillas are native
  • Amelia—which means “industrious leader” or “flatterer”
  • Emma—named after Emma Stokes, a gorilla researcher who “discovered” a large population of western lowland gorillas in the Republic of Congo
  • Nora—which means “light” or “honor”

            The public can cast their vote from February 18, beginning at 9:00 a.m. CST, to March 3, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. CST. The name with the most votes will be announced on Tuesday, March 4, which is the same date the infant will be four months old.

“At nearly four months old, the infant is really starting to develop a personality,” said Craig Demitros, associate curator of primates for the Society. “Zoo guests will notice that Koola is still constantly carrying the baby, who has begun crawling on her mom’s belly. Also, the baby is becoming interested in her surroundings, is vocalizing more, is developing facial expressions, and has started to teethe.”

The public is encouraged to visit the unnamed infant at Brookfield Zoo during the contest period. The zoo is free on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays through February.

The Chicago Zoological Society inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for Brookfield Zoo’s innovative, naturalistic, multispecies exhibits and for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. For further information, visit