BBN News: Is Malia the Giraffe Offensive?
But unlike her mother---or any other animal at the Buffalo, New York zoo---her name is the center of an ongoing controversy.
Soon after the announcement was made that the newborn giraffe is named "Malia," after the daughter of President Obama and wife Michelle, area residents became embroiled in a debate over whether or not the name choice is appropriate.
"I don't think the First Lady and President of the United States of America gave their children names that should be transferred to a four-legged animal. I find it offensive," says Katherine Mitcherson Robinson. She appeared on a local radio station WUFO to voice the concerns she and other residents have over the animal's moniker.
Officials at the zoo insist that they had no intent to dishonor the president or his daughter. "Certainly there was no intention on the part of the President, or board, or anyone here at the Zoo to be offensive," said Vice Chair of the Zoo's Board of Directors, Hal Payne. The idea was to honor the First Family, particularly as the baby giraffe was born so close to inaguration day. He added that the practice of naming animals after famous people is well-established: two other giraffes were named for actors Goldie Hawn and Clint Eastwood, in addition to a serval named for Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith and a porcupine at the Prospect Park Zoo named in honor of zoo president Donna Ferndandes.
Nonetheless, many listeners of WUFO are calling for the zoo to rename the giraffe, and Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant is sponsoring a resolution to have the name changed.
To the best of this blogger's knowledge, the President and his family have made no comment regarding the newborn and her controversial name.
Source: WGRZ.com. Click on the link to see a photo of baby Malia, a video regarding this issue and comments from locals regarding the controversy.