OITA – A zoo in Oita was forced to backpedal on its announcement that it will name a baby Japanese monkey Charlotte in honor of the newborn British princess, following complaints the move is disrespectful to that nation’s royal family.
The Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden, popular among visitors as a feeding ground for wild macaques nearby, said Thursday it will seek the opinion of the British Embassy about the naming.
The zoo solicits names from the general public for the first macaque born each year.
Charlotte, taken from Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, the second child of Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Catherine, was the top choice, with 59 out of 853 votes. Also in the running were Kei, after Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori., and Elsa, a character in the Disney film “Frozen.”
The zoo announced the naming after a zookeeper spotted this year’s firstborn, a healthy female, clinging to her mother Wednesday morning. But the zoo soon received about 300 phone calls and emails demanding a retraction and asking the zoo to imagine what the Japanese people would think if a British monkey were named after a member of Japan’s Imperial family.
A zoo official said it was discussing a possible name change for the baby macaque.