On June 14, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo welcomed its first snow leopard cubs in 14 years. The public was invited to submit name suggestions for the cubs and 563 people submitted names into the contest. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is pleased to announce the finalists in the snow leopard cub naming contest.
The finalists are:
Rambu (ROM-boo)& Dongari (DUN-gar-ee)
Submitted by Ann Bauer, 22, of Akron, Ohio and Julie Overacker, 49, of Central Square, N.Y.
Rambu means “strong” in Sherpa, the language of the people who inhabit the Nepalese Himalayan mountains. Dongari is a mountain pass in Nepal.
Sabu (SAH-boo)& Raj (r ah j)
Submitted by Maria Padalino, 5, of Liverpool, N.Y. Sabu is Tibetan for “snow leopard.” I also like the name Sabu because it ends with “boo” and my zoo has the best Zoo Boo! Raj is Indian for “king” or “rule.” I think the snow leopard is going to grow up and be big, just like a king.
Viktor (VIK-tor) & Tikhon (TEE-con)
Submitted by Holly Enlow, 23, of Lexington, Ky. & Deborah Noble, 20, of Tully, N.Y. Viktor is a name of Russian origin, meaning “one who conquers”. In order for snow leopards to survive in the harsh conditions in which they are found, they must “conquer” their environment. Tikhon is another Russian name, meaning “lucky”. These cubs are incredibly lucky to have been born into such a good environment where they will be cared for and protected.
Taji (TAH-jee) & Kaza (KAH-zuh)
Submitted by Jennifer Noble, 29, of Syracuse, N.Y. Snow leopards are found in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Both brothers would be named after their countries of origin!
Bajen (BAH-zhən) & Ramil (RAH-meel)
Submitted by Julianna Buchmann, 10, of Weedsport, N.Y. & Karen Dunford, 40, of Nedrow, N.Y.
Bajen is a Russian boy’s name that means “long waited”. Since it has been 14 years since a baby snow leopard has been born at the zoo, I think this beautiful snow leopard is indeed “long waited.” Ramil is a name used in Uzbekistan and it is a nice name for a snow leopard.
Those interested in voting can do so by visiting the zoo’s website: http://rosamondgiffordzoo.org/naming-contest. Facebook fans can place an additional vote through a poll on the zoo’s Facebook page. All votes must be received by 4 p.m. on September 1. The name that receives the highest number of votes will be the name by which the baby snow leopards will be known. The winner(s) will receive a snow leopard Adopt an Animal package valued at $100.
Snow leopards are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP)-a collaborative effort between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and zoos around the world to help ensure their survival. Snow leopards are perfectly adapted to the cold, barren landscape of their high-altitude home, but human threats have created an uncertain future for the cats. It is estimated that there are between 4,000 and 6,500 snow leopards left in the wild. There are currently 137 snow leopards in 63 zoos in the United States. As first time parents, Zena and Senge are genetically valuable within the captive population and will likely have the opportunity to breed again in the future.