No, a Chinese Zoo Did Not Name a Baby Gorilla Harambe McHarambeface

Baby gorilla Afia at the Bristol Zoo in England in August 2016 (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Did you see that viral story about a zoo in China naming their baby gorilla Harambe McHarambeface? Well, it’s fake. But it fooled plenty of news outlets like The Mirror and The Metro. Because anything involving Harambe, the dead gorilla-turned-meme, is too good to check.

The Jinhua Zoo in China allegedly had an online contest to name their new baby gorilla. And things were going smoothly until last week, when the online poll was hijacked by people who submitted the name Harambe McHarambeface. The old most popular name, Heijin, was quickly surpassed by the tribute to Harambe, which reportedly snagged 93 percent of the total votes.


But it’s all a lie. How do we know it’s fake? The source of the news is a website that was created on September 9, 2016. The fake news site, calling itself The Boston Leader, is complete bullshit and clearly manufactured everything from the poll’s very existence to the quotes from the zoo.

The Daily Mail bothered to reach out to the Jinhua Zoo, where Harambe McHarambeface supposedly lives, but they haven’t heard back. And since the zoo doesn’t have any newborn gorillas in the first place, I don’t suspect they will.

Harambe McHarambeface is obviously a nod to the meme of the disaster that is crowdsourcing a name for things online. Remember Boaty McBoatface? This one just never happened in the first place.

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Matt Novak

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog