German zoo forced to change name of Fidel, the Cuban crocodile
One of seven endangered Cuban crocodiles hatched at the Hoyerswerda Zoo was given the name “Fidel”. Apparently his name has caused some problems due to associations with the Communist revolutionary, Fidel Castro, and has had to be changed.
Hatched in the zoo during August, zookeepers had made a decision to dub the hatchlings with names associated with their homeland of Cuba. However, one of the seven hatchings born, Fidel, turned out to be a bit of a problem.
According to Carmen Lötsch, the director of the zoo, which is located in what was formerly Communist East Germany, they never expected to have any controversy with the naming of the hatchlings, saying:
“We were simply looking for names which you immediately associate with their homeland of Cuba. Nobody intended it to be a direct reference to dictator Fidel Castro or indeed a glorification of him as a person.”
Rhein Zeitung (German language) reports that the name wasn’t the only problem when it came to young Fidel however, as he soon became notorious for behaving aggressively towards his siblings and would regularly attack and attempt to bite them. This caused some to call the crocodile by the nickname “Castro”.
“But that really refers most of all to the critical aspects of Fidel Castro as a person, so one can really not be accused of in any way trivializing these actions.”
However, despite this, the committee who allocates funding in the region just didn’t approve of the name. As they last year provided the zoo with €400,000 in funding, and the zoo would apparently not have been able to carry on without this, they have now appealed to the zoo directors to be more sensitive in their naming of its residents.
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