Name the Bongo Calf at the Louisville Zoo

Naming Contest Finalists for Male Bongo Calf (Media Release)

CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd
Direct: 502-238-5331  |  Media Only: 502-744-5639

The Louisville Zoo requested name submissions for the new bongo calf born Sunday, May 19. Nearly 2,000 names were submitted. The bongo Zoo keepers have narrowed those to three. A “Guardians of the Galaxy” theme emerged. The bongo name finalists are Drax, Groot and Rocket.

Guests can vote for their favorite of these three names on their next visit to the Zoo. From June 14 – 23, visitors can drop coins and bills into the Zoo’s naming kiosk to indicate their favorite name. All proceeds support the Zoo’s efforts to provide excellent care for animals and important conservation and education programs. The name with the highest total donations by June 23th will be the winning name. Announcements will be made on social media the week of June 24.

The calf’s parents are Isabelle (age 9) and Watson (age 10). Mom and calf are doing well. Both have joined the other bongos in rotation on exhibit next to giraffe and addax yards.

This birth was planned as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) which works to improve the genetic diversity of managed animal populations.


Bongos are the largest of the forest antelopes and are considered by many to be the most beautiful. In addition to the deep chestnut color of their coats, bongos have bright white stripes on their sides to help camouflage them from their enemies. Bongos are listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red list of Threatened Species.


The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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