Como Zoo baby zebra named in honor of longtime volunteer

Baby Krump and mother Thelma
Baby zebra Krump, born September 3, and his mother Thelma at the Como Zoo in St. Paul. He is named for Frank Krmpotich, a long-time zoo volunteer.
Courtesy Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

A baby zebra at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory has been named "Krump" in honor of a longtime zoo volunteer.

Krump was born on Sept. 3, and is named for Frank Krmpotich, who served as a greeter at the zoo for more than two decades.

Frank's wife Connie said he started volunteering at the zoo after his retirement in 1995. She said he would carry a big bag of pennies, which he would give to kids so they could make a souvenir in the penny press machine.

"He loved the people, he loved animals and he had more stories to tell," Connie said. "He just liked talking to people."

Among Frank's favorite animals were the big cats, especially the lions. But he just liked volunteering at the zoo.

"The other nice thing is you see a lot of nice families come that can't afford to go to the big zoo," Connie said. "That's important."

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Frank and Connie lived on the Iron Range of northern Minnesota until 1986, when they moved to the Twin Cities. Krmpotich was a Korean War veteran and former member of the Ely school board.

Frank died unexpectedly on Sept. 14, at the age of 84. He is survived by his wife Connie, four children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

"Everyone loved Frank," said zoo director Michelle Furrer. "He always looked like he was having the greatest time. He will be missed terribly by everyone at Como."

Connie said the family also plans to dedicate a bench at the zoo in her husband's honor.

Zebra Krump was the second zebra born in the previous two months. His stripes will turn from brown to black as he ages, completing the transition sometime in the first 18 months. Zebra Krump lives at the zoo with his mother Thelma, father Ulysses and two other zebras.