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Where EAST meets the Northwest

OH, DEER. This image taken from video shows Haechan of the K-pop group NCT 127 taking a selfie with a baby pudu at the Los Angeles Zoo. Fans of the group donated money to name the baby pudu after Haechan. The human Haechan got to meet his namesake this month, snapping selfies with the little deer at his enclosure. (AP Photo/Jerry Nulty)

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #10 (May 20, 2019), page 7.

Haechan meets Haechan: K-pop star honored with zoo namesake

By Marcela Isaza

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES ó Fans of the K-pop group NCT 127 donated money in January to name a baby pudu at the Los Angeles Zoo after one of its members, Haechan (HECHí-ehn). This month, the human Haechan got to meet his namesake, snapping selfies with the little deer at his enclosure.

Pudu are found in various parts of South America. Theyíre considered one of the smallest deer species in the world. The adorable male pudu was born in late December and became an internet sensation after the zoo shared his birth announcement on social media. Thatís when NCT 127 fans decided he looked like Haechan and began calling him "Baby Haechan" online.

The zoo bestowed the name after NCT 127 fans raised $2,000 for the cause.

Haechanís groupmate, Mark, translated for his friend and told The Associated Press he was thrilled.

"He actually knew about the pudu first from the fans," Mark said, adding that his bandmate "feels very honored to be able to have that opportunity."

The group watched as the baby deer ate kale, leaves, and roses. While honored, Haechan said he didnít agree with fans that he looks like the pudu. But he added he eats a lot like the animal.

The South Korean group was in Los Angeles for a stop on its North American tour, which wrapped up in Vancouver. Members, who go by their first names only, zipped around the zoo in a golf cart and stopped to visit with a porcupine before meeting up with the pudu.

"I feel like my younger me is coming out right now," said Johnny. "Iím very excited, I canít stop smiling. I saw all these animals coming here. We saw some porcupines, some turtles, excites me every time. I love zoos."

The group performed in Los Angeles and also threw out the first pitch at a Dodgers baseball game.


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