OITA – A female Japanese macaque born a year ago, whose naming — after Britain’s Princess Charlotte — created a stir, celebrated her first birthday Thursday at Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden in Oita Prefecture.
Ahead of her actual birthday on Friday, a birthday cake decorated with dolls and koinobori (carp streamers) was given to the young monkey.
The story of a Japanese zoo naming a monkey Charlotte made headlines worldwide after the zoo received numerous complaints saying it was disrespectful to name a monkey after a foreign royal. The zoo even issued an apology before backtracking and saying it will stick to its guns and retain the name.
As Charlotte appeared with her mother on a stage on Thursday, the audience of about 30 people welcomed her and took pictures.
According to the zoo, Charlotte has been quite active, playing on a slide and with older monkeys. When she was born a year ago, she weighed about 500 grams, but now her weight is about 1.5 kg.
“I have been watching her growth just like my child, so I feel moved. I hope she will cheer up visitors and people in Kumamoto who have been affected by the earthquakes,” said Satoshi Kimoto, 47, a zoo official.
Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden also hosted an event to name the firstborn macaque of 2016. The name Rio was chosen in honor of the Summer Olympic Games, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro later this year.