Manhattan, Kan. – Sunset Zoo is pleased to announce the names of two new additions – a four-month-old chimpanzee and six-month-old bobcat kitten. The infant chimpanzee is named “Nkurukoto,” (pronounced “en-koo-roo-koh-toe”) meaning faith in Kenya’s Samburu language. The bobcat kitten’s name is “Mittens,” named in memory of a beloved family pet. The names were selected by local community members who won the opportunity during a silent auction at Friends of Sunset Zoo’s Wine in the Wild event earlier this month.
Doug and Charlene Anspaugh selected Nkurukoto through a connection at their local church. Members of their congregation are currently completing missionary work in Kenya and work closely with the native Samburu tribe. Mittens was selected by Bob Krause and Marty Vanier; naming the animal in honor of their beloved family pet, a cat who often encountered bobcats in a quest to protect the family farm.
Community members can visit Nkurukoto at the primate building located along the Zoo’s African Forest Trail. Mom, Hazina, has begun teaching the young male chimpanzee how to walk. Guests can see Mittens along the Kansas Plains trail near the Zoo’s concession stand. While he is still quite shy, guests are encouraged to approach the exhibit quietly and look up. With patience, you may catch a glimpse.
Proceeds from the naming auction benefit the Friends of Sunset Zoo’s (FOSZ) Conservation Fund. Overseen by the FOSZ Conservation Team, the Fund works to expand the impact of Sunset Zoo’s participation in wildlife conservation projects beyond Zoo walls. To date the Fund has awarded an inaugural Conservation Scholarship to a local doctoral student completing field conservation research in the Kansas Flint Hills and grasslands of Inner Mongolia. The Fund has also supported local efforts to conserve black-footed ferrets and global efforts to protect amphibian species and peccaries in Paraguay.