There is a popular story making its way around the web about a Chinese zoo that allegedly decided to name a newborn gorilla “Harambe McHarambeface” after opening up the naming process to a popular vote on social media.
Despite the fact that there’s nearly every indication that the story is a hoax, it’s the sort of hoax that the internet loves. It’s got baby animals, references to Boaty McBoatface, and most importantly, it’s breathing new life into 2016’s unkillable meme of the year: Harambe the gorilla.
By now you’re probably familiar with Harambe, the 17-year-old Western lowland gorilla shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo earlier this year after he attacked a three-year-old boy who’d managed to climb into his enclosure. Harambe’s death sparked an ideological battle between those who thought the zoo shouldn’t have killed the rare animal and those who thought the little boy’s life was more valuable than Harambe’s.
In a perfect world, Harambe’s death would have led to a rigorous debate about zoo safety precautions, much in the same way that Cecil the Lion’s death sparked international outrage about big game hunting. Instead, we got memes. Lots of memes. And also lots of music: In the months after the incident, tribute songs to Harambe racked up millions of views on YouTube, and rapper Young Thug decided to immortalize him in a track from his Jeffrey mixtape.