Fact Check

China's Jinhua Zoo Names Baby Gorilla Harambe McHarambeface?

A hoax news article blended several memes when it reported that a zoo named a baby gorilla Harambe McHarambeface.

Published Sept. 13, 2016

Image courtesy of Flickr
A zoo in China named a baby gorilla Harambe McHarambeface.

On 10 September 2016, the entertainment web site Boston Leader published an article claiming that a zoo in China held an online naming contest for a baby gorilla and that "Harambe McHarambeface" ended up as the winning entry:

A naming contest held for a baby gorilla at Jinhua Zoo, located in China's central Zhejiang province, has announced the winning entry - which captured over 93% of all votes cast online - as "Harambe McHarambeface."

While the Boston Leader's article was picked up by news outlets, this story is a hoax; the Jinhua Zoo did not name a baby gorilla "Harambe McHarambeFace."  The Boston Leader claims that it has been "bringing you Boston's best news since 1932," but the web site was started on 9 September 2016, a day before the baby gorilla story was published.

Furthermore, while Boston Leader claimed to glean its information from statements a local Jinhua Zoo official gave to local media outlets, we found no record of the Jinhua Zoo commenting on a baby gorilla named Harambe McHarambeface, nor its alleged Chinese name "Heijin." .

This hoax news story from the Boston Leader spoofed two big internet stories from 2016: The death of Harambe, a gorilla shot at a Cincinnati zoo after a child fell into its enclosure, and almost naming a British research vessel "Boaty McBoatface" (after a public contest) after an online contest.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.