A tiny deer-like animal born recently at the Los Angeles Zoo has become the latest K-Pop sensation.
The baby southern pudu — one of the smallest deer species in the world — was born Dec. 19 to first-time parents Steph and Mario.
The adorable baby quickly gained a following after the zoo shared the happy news on social media. That’s when K-Pop fans immediately began calling the tiny mammal “Baby Haechan” after a member of the popular South Korean boy band NCT, whom they believe the baby resembles.
People shared photos online of the 18-year-old pop star Haechan and the animal in similar poses. In one image, Haechan sticks out his tongue as he drinks from a straw while the pudu sticks out his tiny tongue in a similar fashion while frolicking in his enclosure.
It's come to our attention that Haechan of the K-pop group @NCTsmtown is considered by many of his fans to resemble an adorable pudu. So we want to give fans the opportunity to officially name the newborn fawn after the singer! https://t.co/s00mYUwdvb pic.twitter.com/zRvo8UMHsa— Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens (@LAZoo) January 10, 2019
The perceived likeness created such a buzz that the zoo started a fundraiser on Facebook for fans who favor naming the pudu after Haechan.
“Typically, animals born at the L.A. Zoo are given names chosen by donors wishing to support conservation work with a name for an individual animal,” the zoo wrote Wednesday on Instagram. “But given Haechan’s resemblance to the petite deer species, we want to give fans of NCT the opportunity to officially name the newborn pudu fawn at the L.A. Zoo after Lee Dong-hyuck himself.”
Fans were given five days to raise $2,000 for the naming to be official but came up with the cash in just a few hours. As of Thursday morning, 184 people had raised more than $2,500 for the zoo.
“Wow! NCT fans have met the goal already, and we are so grateful — as a nonprofit, your generosity means the world,” the zoo wrote.