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The votes are in and this is the name of the National Zoo's new gorilla

After nearly 25,000 votes, the Zoo's newest member has a name.

WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian National Zoo has tallied the votes and the tribe has spoken. The zoo's western lowland gorilla now has a name. The zoo says 25,000 people voted in a poll between three names.

The winning name is Zahra, which is Swahili for "beautiful flower." The baby girl was born at the Great Ape House on May 27 to mom Calaya, age 20, and dad Baraka, age 31. She's the first western lowland gorilla born at the zoo in five years.

The ape house has been closed since the birth to allow mom and daughter time to bond. The zoo says the new baby — the second for both parents — joins the zoo’s troop of gorillas: silverback leader Baraka, mother Calaya, and their 5-year-old son Moke, as well as a 41-year-old female named Mandara and her 14-year-old daughter, Kibibi. Animal care staff have observed Calaya's excellent parenting skills as she cradles and nurses the infant, who appears healthy and strong.  

Native to Africa, western lowland gorillas live in the forests of Gabon, Central Africa Republic, Cameroon, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Congo. These gorillas are considered critically endangered, and primary threats to their survival include disease, poaching, and habitat destruction due to farming and mining activities in their habitat. 

The Smithsonian works with organizations around the globe to ensure the survival of species like the western lowland gorilla, and the birth of this new baby marks a small victory in the fight for this species' future. Members of the public can help protect western lowland gorillas’ natural habitat by making environmentally conscious decisions like recycling electronics. 

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