Zoos have name-the-newborn-animal contests all the time. But one Japanese zoo made a royal faux pas this week in naming its newest monkey.
The Associated Press reports that Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden in Oita, Japan has apologized after naming the monkey Charlotte after Britain’s royal baby.
The wild monkey park fielded angry phone calls and emails on Wednesday after it announced the monkey’s name. Following tradition, the first macaque born each year is named by the public.
Votes for “Charlotte” came fast and furious after the British royals announced Monday that their newborn’s name is Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.
According to one zoo official, there had been no votes for Charlotte before the royal baby’s name was announced.
Zoo official Akira Asano told AP that he hadn’t heard any complaints from British citizens.
“We deeply apologize for causing trouble to many people over the naming of the first baby (monkey)," said a statement posted on the zoo's website. "We take these opinions seriously.”
No word on what the zoo plans to do.
Rename the monkey? Stick with Charlotte?
The zoo will reportedly seek advice from the British Embassy before making a decision. But the British newspaper The Guardian suggests that maybe people weren’t trying to stir up some monkey business or be rude when they voted for Charlotte.
“Britain's royals are immensely popular in Japan, where their easy familiarity with the public stands in marked contrast to the austere image of the country's own imperial clan,” writes the Guardian.
“A recent visit by Prince William — who left heavily pregnant Kate at home — was followed in minute detail by Japan's media, which (reveled) in the chance to show pictures of him dressed as a samurai lord.”
As Twitter points out, a name change is probably best.