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What would you pay to name a giraffe? SC zoo’s new baby name is up for auction

Lyn Riddle
·2 min read

The Greenville Zoo is keeping its giraffe baby in the spotlight.

First, there was the introduction to the public. Just days after the calf’s birth on Feb. 21, she was out in the paddock, taking in the sun and sticking close to her mama, Autumn.

Next came a meme contest with a photo of the baby, looking somewhat perplexed with her surroundings. That Facebook post has garnered more than 80 responses so far, with captions including “not very impressed with 2021 so far and I’m only one week old.” Or “yeah, not doing that.”

Then Friday, the zoo announced an auction — sponsored by the non-profit fundraising arm Greenville Zoo Foundation — to name the baby. That immediately raised a dispute on Facebook between a woman calling the auction a disservice to struggling families and a resounding response from people calling her “Karen” and one saying “there’s one in every crowd.”

On Friday morning, a $1,200 bid was in the lead for the naming rights. One person on Facebook responded, “My family is out of that real quick.” Within minutes, the bid had increased to $1,300.

Shortly after the post was put up on Facebook, people just started offering names. Nala, Bongo, August; people went on and on.

One woman chimed in, “Hopefully the auction is not won by a corporate entity who only wants the publicity... or you’ll end up with baby giraffe Panasonic A1 or baby giraffe Midas Oil.”

The auction is open until March 15. In addition to naming the giraffe — with the OK from zoo staff — the winner will get a tour and a keeper talk for five people. They will also meet the calf.

To place a bid, go online to events.readysetauction.com/greenvillezoofoundation/giraffenaming.

The new calf is Autumn’s sixth; one was stillborn, and three have been sent to other zoos. Her fifth is still at the Greenville Zoo but is expected to be sent elsewhere.

Autumn came to the Greenville Zoo from Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo in 2007. Her first mate was Walter, who came from the San Diego Zoo as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, which matches zoo animals around the country with an eye toward maintaining genetic diversity. Masai giraffes are endangered in the wild.

Thousands of people watched online on EarthCam as Autumn gave birth.

Autumn and Walter had three calves over four years. He was sent to a zoo in New Jersey and has since died of a reaction to anesthesia during a dental procedure.

Her new mate, Miles, came from the Houston Zoo in 2016. They have since produced three calves, including the ever popular new baby.