The Louisville Zoo’s female baby pygmy hippo heard her name for the first time—Isoke (ee SO keh), which is African for satisfying gift.
The name was submitted by 5-year-old Aspen Hoffmans of Prospect as part of the Zoo Babies Naming Contest presented by Norton Healthcare. Gorilla Forest zookeepers narrowed the more than 2,000 entries down to three. There were multiple entries for each finalist name selected, so winners were chosen at random. Zoo visitors then voted by making a contribution via coins into the slots on the Naming Contest kiosk on the Zoo’s front plaza. The competition was fierce, but Isoke outdrew the other two. A total of $576.28 was raised through the voting process, with Isoke receiving $273.49. All proceeds support the Zoo’s efforts to provide excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things. A portion of the proceeds will support conservation efforts in Africa.
As the grand prize winner, Hoffmans will receive a Zoo family membership, two round trip tickets from Frontier Airlines valued at $1,000, a $50 gift certificate from Whole Foods and behind-the-scenes tour to meet baby and Mom with their keepers.
Second runner up was Lily, submitted by Frances Farley of Louisville with $166.95 and third place was Zuri, submitted by Melissa Langley of Louisville with $135.84.
These runners-up will receive a Zoo ticket pack, plush hippo, Norton Healthcare gift and a $25 gift certificate from Whole Foods.
Isoke is thriving. She is brave and adventurous, even swimming by herself, without her mom by her side. But, she can still be found following in her mother’s footsteps quite often.
There are only 50 pygmy hippos in 22 locations in North America and births are rare.
Isoke and mother Tracy are on exhibit daily at Hippo Falls in the award-winning Gorilla Forest, weather permitting. You can hear keeper talks about the pygmy hippos at 11:30 a.m. now through September.
Other Winning Names
BONGO BABY - NAILAH
Melissa Culbertson of Louisville, submitted Nailah as the winning name for the female bongo born at the Louisville Zoo on Jan. 11. Nailah translates into “succeeding” in Africa.
The Louisville Zoo bongo keepers chose the name from more than 1,200 entries. Culbertson will receive a Zoo gift basket that includes passes and a plush animal, a gift from Norton Healthcare, $25 gift certificate from Whole Foods and a behind-the-scenes Zoo tour to meet the baby and Mom with their keepers.
Nailah is on exhibit daily, weather permitting.
MANED WOLF PUPS – RAYNA, ROSITA AND RODOLFO
Sandi Willis-McCarter of Lexington, submitted Rayna, Rosita and Rodolfo as the winning names for the three maned wolf pups born at the Louisville Zoo on Jan. 7 and Jan. 8.
The Louisville Zoo maned wolf keepers chose the names from more than 1,400 entries. Willis-McCarter will receive a Zoo gift basket that includes passes and a plush animal, a gift from Norton Healthcare, $25 gift certificate from Whole Foods and a behind-the-scenes Zoo tour to meet the babies and Mom with their keepers.
Rayna and Rosita are on exhibit daily, weather permitting.
Rodolfo’s name will be sent on to the Buffalo Zoo, where he was recently transferred at the direction of the Species Survival Plan (SSP). SSP is a cooperative population management and conservation program administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to help ensure the survival of selected wildlife species. Rodolfo was sent to Buffalo to be a companion for another maned wolf pup who was orphaned.
The naming contest was presented by Norton Healthcare with additional support from Frontier Airlines, Whole Foods Market, WAVE 3 TV and 102.3 WXMA.
Visitors can now vote for their favorite elephant baby name on the Zoo’s Front Plaza. The names are Jonesy, Angus and Scotty. Voting ends May 24. For more information, visit http://www.louisvillezoo.org.
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