Saturday, September 06, 2008

Name The Elephant!

Oregon Zoo Offers 5 Names, You Vote Online
By Brooks Burford
Friday, September 5, 2008
The Oregon Zoo's baby elephant needs a name. Oregon Zoo elephant keepers are asking the public to help them choose a name for the 2-week-old elephant calf. Keepers have come up with five names and are asking people to vote for their favorite on the zoo's Web site:
"The community's outpouring of love and support for the zoo and our newest resident has been very gratifying," said Mike Keele, the zoo's deputy director. "We've had to take things very slowly to ensure that Rose-Tu and her calf are completely bonded and comfortable with the rest of the herd. Now we are ready to move onto the next step, and that is giving the calf a name that suits his personality."

Keepers are considering the following five names:

1. Amul: Hindi for "priceless, of inestimable worth."

2. Bao: Chinese for "precious treasure."

3. Duc (rhymes with hook or look): Vietnamese for "good, moral, desire."

(Also is a portion of former Trail Blazer Kevin Duckworth's name, honoring the late basketball player.)
4. Hugo-Tu: This name honors the baby's mother, Rose-Tu, and maternal grandfather, Hugo. Hugo comes from the Germanic word for "mind, heart or spirit" and Tu is Vietnamese for "tree."

5. Samudra (nickname Sam): Hindi for "lord of the ocean." (The calf loves his baths!)

Votes will be accepted through Thursday, Sept. 11, at 5 p.m. The zoo will announce the winning name on Friday, Sept. 12.

The Asian elephant calf, born Aug. 23 at 3:56 p.m. at the zoo, had a rough start to life when Rose-Tu became confused after giving birth and nearly trampled him. Elephant keepers quickly intervened and were able to prevent the new mother from causing any harm to her baby. Keele believes Rose-Tu became confused because she had never seen a birth before. Until the new baby's arrival, she herself had been the last elephant born at the zoo.

Rose-Tu, born Aug. 31, 1994, is a popular elephant within the herd and with her keepers. She is always looking to tease her herd mates and shares a strong friendship with Chendra, who is nearly the same age. Rose-Tu is the second smallest elephant in the herd, weighing about 7,600 pounds. She conceived in late 2006.

The Oregon Zoo has a renowned breeding program for endangered Asian elephants. More than 25 elephants have been born at the zoo, beginning with Packy in 1962. The new calf is the first third-generation elephant to be born in the United States.

As the infant grows older, father Tusko -- a 13,500-pound, 36-year-old Asian elephant -- will be introduced and allowed to interact with him, as well.

Tusko arrived at the zoo in June 2005 on a breeding loan. He has successfully sired three calves in the past -- two while living in Canada and one in California.