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Voters To Pick Dallas Zoo Giraffe's Name

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Earlier this week, the Dallas Zoo announced that a generous unidentified bidder had paid $50,000 for the right to name the zoo's new baby giraffe. Now, the name is being put up to a public vote. Three options have been selected by that bidder, and visitors have until Sunday to choose their favorite.

The three possible names, all African in origin, are: Kopano (from Botswana, meaning "united"), Usawa (means "equality" in Swahili) and Shingo (means "neck" in Swahili). Voting has already started. Visit the Dallas Zoo's website (click here) to cast your vote now. The voting ends at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday and the winner will be announced on Monday.

The male giraffe was born on October 26 and measured six feet tall and 120 pounds. He has been briefly introduced to the other 12 members of the zoo's giraffe herd, and his mother keeps watch over him at all times.

The anonymous bidder, a longtime zoo supporter, won the giraffe naming rights at the Dallas Zoo annual fundraiser held last Saturday. The money will be used to benefit conservation efforts, according to zoo spokeswoman Laurie Holloway. However, voters are also being asked to name an area school that could be randomly selected to win a free visit from the zoo's Animal Adventures team.

"We're very grateful to this special donor, and are happy to set this up to involve the public and local schools," said Dallas Zoo CEO Gregg Hudson in a statement released Wednesday morning. "There is very high interest in this new calf and we can't wait to see what his name will be."

The last giraffe to be born at the Dallas Zoo was in 2011 and named Jamie, after 8-month-old cancer victim James Camden Sikes. The boy did not survive his disease, but his parents said that giraffes were his favorite animal to see during his visits to the Dallas Zoo. The public was asked to give some name suggestions and the Sikes family launched a successful online campaign.

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