Name That Howler Monkey

The Small Mammal House’s loudest and most charismatic critters is getting a name this week

Image courtesy of Mike Crosby, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Does this little guy look like a Nando to you? How about a Loki?

It’s time to name the National Zoo’s baby black howler monkey, who’s turned into “one of the Small Mammal House’s loudest and most charismatic critters” since his birth on March 22, according to the Zoo’s press release. Beginning today, June 18, the Zoo is hosting a poll on its Facebook page to name the baby. You can choose one of four names the keepers felt reflected the baby’s personality.

The name choices and their explanations are below:

  • Sumaq: This name in the Quechua language means “beautiful.” The baby’s golden locks and chocolate brown eyes prompted the keepers to suggest a name befitting a handsome boy.
  • Orejas: The baby may blend in perfectly with 5-year-old mother Chula’s fur, but one feature (or two) makes him stick out: his large ears. For this reason, keepers chose the name Orejas, a Spanish word meaning “ears.”
  • Nando: Short for Fernando, “Nando” is a popular name meaning “courageous.” At first, the baby was shy and clung tightly to his mother. In the last few weeks, however, he has grown increasingly independent and active, swinging by his tail and walking from branch to branch. Keepers expect he will become more daring over the next few months.
  • Loki: “Loki” is the Norse mythological god of mischief. Inquisitive from a young age, the baby howler explores his environment by touching and tasting everything around him. He has even tried to steal mom’s food.

Voting will close at noon Friday, June 22—exactly three months after the howler monkey’s birth. The Zoo will announce the winning name on Facebook that afternoon.

If you haven’t gotten a chance yet, you can head over to the Small Mammals House to greet the new baby and his parents, Chula and Pele.

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