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Say hello to Lola

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Posted at 2:31 PM, Feb 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-25 14:31:20-05
(Virginia Zoo photo by Winfield Danielson)

(Virginia Zoo photo by Winfield Danielson)

Norfolk, Va. – The Virginia Zoo’s baby siamang is named Lola.

Of the top four names, Lola was the favorite, capturing 46 percent of the vote. Malaya was second, followed by Baaboo and finally Siamangtha.

First-time mother Hitam delivered the baby on Aug. 20, but Zoo staff needed to confirm the baby’s sex before naming her. Members of the public then suggested names on the Virginia Zoo’s Facebook Fan Page until Jan. 15, after which Zoo staff voted on the suggestions during an all-staff meeting Jan. 31. The final four names were voted on by the public until Feb. 15, 2013.

Six people originally suggested the name Lola. Jonathan Wenzel was chosen at random from among the submitters and has won the $200 Zoo gift shop shopping spree.

“This contest has been fun for everyone,” said Greg Bockheim, the Zoo’s executive director. “Everywhere I go, people ask me which name won. The most important thing, however, is that people learn about siamangs, and help protect wildlife and their habitats.”

Siamangs are native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia and are the largest species of gibbon. Like their larger orangutan cousins, their survival in the wild is under serious threat from habitat loss due to plantation expansion – particularly palm oil plantations – forest fires, illegal logging and other real estate development.

Palm oil is found in candy, baked goods, cosmetics, pet foods and cleaning products. Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil member organizations use only sustainable palm oil in order to protect critical habitat.