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Baby gorilla named ‘Harambe McHarambeface’ is beautiful, inspiring hoax

It's definitely a fake story, and it's definitely great.


Nayomi Reghay

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 13, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 12:54 am CDT

The story of a Chinese zoo that named a baby gorilla Harambe McHarambeface went viral Tuesday morning. Multiple outlets, including the Daily Mail, Metro, and the Mirror shared the story—and, as you would expect, the Internet rejoiced.

Here’s a clipping from the original story, reported by the Boston Leader.

Woah, that’s exciting! There’s just one small problem.

Yeah… about that. The whole thing is almost definitely a hoax.

For one thing, the zoo in question hasn’t updated its site since 2013. Same goes for its page on Chinese social media site

You can search far and wide, but the only recent baby gorilla naming contest you’ll find is one at a Philadelphia zoo.

In fact, people tossed the name around then.

There was also a public waterslide in Australia that folks suggested could use the name.

So it’s not hard to see why people wanted to believe in this story. And it certainly looked real enough.

The Boston Leader, where the story originally appeared, bills itself as a local news outlet serving the public since 1932.

Boston Leader

But the site appears to have no other “real” articles. All links lead to an error message. And as of the writing of this article, the site itself appears to be down.

Boston Leader

And yet, isn’t this viral fake news story a small victory for us all? Today, as members of team internet, shouldn’t we rejoice?

Yes and yea, we shall.

R.I.P. Harambe. May you live forever in our hearts, our memes, and our hoaxes.

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*First Published: Sep 13, 2016, 2:47 pm CDT