When the government shutdown ended and the Smithsonian National Zoo’s animal cams came back online, real-time video of the town’s famous baby giant panda soothed thousands of frazzled Americans. Now, it’s time for the little cub to get a name.
It is tradition for zoos to name giant panda cubs when they are 100 days old. The National Zoo has entrusted the American public with this task, offering five options for voting here. The poll gives meanings for each name, as well as clips for proper pronunciation.
The names — Bao Bao, Ling Hua, Long Yun, Mulan and Zhen Bao — were submitted by a group of people involved in a conservationist research partnership between the United States and China. It includes Gary Locke, the U.S. ambassador to China, his Chinese counterpart Cui Tiankai, and the cub’s keepers at the National Zoo, as well as her future keepers at Wolong National Nature Reserve in China, where she will move in four years.
The winning name will be announced Dec. 1. Giant panda Mei Xiang gave birth to the soon-to-be named cub on Aug. 23. She has grown fluffier and bigger each day.