The Maryland Zoo’s baby chimpanzee, born in August at the Oklahoma City Zoo, needs a name, and the zoo is turning to the public to choose the name.

The wee chimp is being hand-raised at The Maryland Zoo with the intention to introduce her to a surrogate mom, chimp Abby when she has achieved age-appropriate milestones such as standing, clinging and crawling.

The chimp arrived at the zoo in late September and is cared for by the Chimp Forest animal care team. The team works in three shifts around the clock to provide constant care. She drinks formula every three hours, sleeps and plays each day to strengthen her muscles. The team member caring for her wears a fringed shirt or blanket to help the baby learn to grip.

The new addition brings the Maryland Zoo’s chimpanzee troop to 15, including one-year-old Lola and ten-month-old Violet. As the new baby integrates into the troop, she will have these two companions to play with, which is essential to her development as a troop member.

The Chimpanzee Forest animal care team came up with the names that they feel embody the chimpanzee baby:

  • Asha — An Indian name with multiple meanings. It means ‘hope’ in Sanskrit, ‘alive’ in Swahili and ‘happy’ in Hebrew. You can also connect this name to the ash tree, a tree of high spiritual importance to the Norse and Celtic people.
  • Nyota (pronounced Nee-oh-tah) – Swahili for star.
  • Maisie — girl’s name of Scottish origin meaning “pearl.”
  • Tulia –– Swahili for calm and quiet.
  • Olivia — Means olive, which also stands for peace.

Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are classified as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. One of the greatest threats to the wild chimpanzees is loss of habitat, the African forest, from commercial logging, agriculture and fires. Poaching and disease also put the wild population at risk.

To vote for a name, visit Voting is open now through midnight on Thursday, November 5th.