“Kayembe” (Kah-YEM-Bay), meaning “extraordinary,” was the name chosen for the first baby gorilla born at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in its 139-year history. The baby gorilla’s name was revealed following a three-week naming campaign in support of gorilla conservation through the Zoo’s longtime partnership with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
The naming campaign received over 600 donations, raising nearly $15,000 for the Fossey Fund in Rwanda. Named after conservation pioneer Dian Fossey, the Fossey Fund has been helping to save gorillas for more than 50 years.
“Kayembe has captured the hearts of so many with his extraordinary birth and story,” says Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director Dr. Chris Kuhar. “The naming opportunity with CrossCountry Mortgage was our most popular naming campaign yet and will support critical conservation of this iconic species.”
An exclusive social media video series created in partnership with CrossCountry Mortgage continues to follow the baby’s growth and development and has received more than 850,000 views.
At nearly 4 months old, Kayembe continues to be in nearly constant contact with his surrogate mom, Freddy. He recently reached a new developmental milestone, when he began crawling and exploring his habitat within a few feet of mom.
Guests visiting Cleveland Metroparks Zoo can visit Kayembe and the gorilla troop at the Primate, Cat & Aquatics building between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily.