Facing accusations of racial insensitivity, the Dresden Zoo has been forced to rename a baby primate called ‘Obama.’
This spring the zoo in the eastern German city named a newborn mandrill "Obama" after freshly inaugurated US President Barack Obama. But an advocacy group for black Germans demanded that the primate be renamed this week, calling the zoo’s choice racist.
The baby mandrill, which belongs to a species closely related to the baboon, was born on March 23, Manuela Collmar, zookeeper at the zoo’s "Afrika Haus," said. Each year the zoo names all newborn animals beginning with the same letter. "This year they all begin with ‘O,’ and one of the zookeeper’s chose ‘Obama’ – it was meant to be positive and, an honor in light of his visit to Dresden in June," Collmar said, adding that neither she nor her colleagues were aware of the history of using monkeys to caricature and ethnically stereotype black people.