A Japanese zoo has apologised for naming a baby monkey Charlotte after the newborn British princess following complaints at home.
The Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden said Thursday it was considering renaming the macaque. It was flooded with angry calls and emails Wednesday hours after announcing the name for its first monkey born this year, a tradition at the city-run zoo in southern Japan.
Charlotte was the favourite in a public ballot, receiving 59 out of 853 votes in just over a month until Wednesday, when the female monkey was born.
Opponents largely said giving the princess’ name to a monkey is disrespectful to British royals. According to zoo official Akira Asano, some of them said that the Japanese people would feel offended if a monkey were named after Japanese princesses.
He said the zoo has also received support for Charlotte, and the views are now largely divided.
“We deeply apologize for causing trouble to many people over the naming of the first baby (monkey),” said a statement posted on the zoo website. “We take these opinions seriously.”
Asano said he was not aware of any complaints from British citizens.
Officials of the zoo and the city of Oita were still discussing what to do with the monkey’s name.
The British Embassy in Tokyo declined to comment, while Japan’s foreign ministry said it was not involved with the issue.