Lake to be named in honor of Eko the tiger may already have a name

Reporter: Jennifer Morejon Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
naples zoo
Naples Zoo’s Malayan tiger Eko. (Credit: The Naples Zoo)

Naples Zoo representatives and animal lovers hoping to name a lake after Eko the tiger were left disappointed after a meeting on Wednesday discussing the proposal.

The lake known as Lake 19 is the one the groups wanted to name in Eko’s honor, but it may already have a name. “There’s a history to the name Fleischmann Lake,” said Naples City Council Member Ray Christman.

There are no documents with an official name for Lake 19.

“Very disappointed, we didn’t know anything about this until yesterday. It was all going to be easy,” Sue Schulte, a Lake Park community member pushing for an Eko memorial.

Jen Chattler and Sue Schulte have worked together on behalf of their Lake Park community pushing for the memorial. “I was very surprised considering every house around the lake I went to had no idea it was considered Fleischmann Lake,” said Chattler.

The 8-year-old Malayan tiger, Eko, was shot and killed at the Naples Zoo in December by a Collier County deputy after a member of the zoo’s cleaning staff, stuck his hand in the enclosure and Eko clamped down on it.

The community said they are not ready to give up the fight for a memorial for Eko. “Memorializing that tiger is simple. The name of that lake is really irrelevant. There’s so many different ways to doing it.”

The community hopes there will be a compromise whether it’s renaming the lake or finding another way to memorialize Eko.

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