US zoo starts campaign to name panda cub

Updated: 2013-11-06 09:16


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WASHINGTON - The US Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, the American national capital, on Tuesday asked panda fans across the world for help to name the female giant panda cub via voting online.

People can choose their favorite names for the cub on a Smithsonian website that has been set up for the voting campaign open from now through to Nov 22. The winning name will be unveiled at a celebration ceremony held on Dec 1, when the cub is 100 days old, in accordance with Chinese tradition, said the zoo.

Panda fans have five names in Chinese putonghua to choose from, including Bao Bao that means precious, Ling Hua that means "darling, delicate flower," Long Yun that "represents a sign of luck for panda cooperation between China and the US," Mulan that is the name of a legendary smart and brave woman warrior in ancient China, as well as Zhen Bao that means treasure, according to the zoo.

Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai, US Ambassador to China Gary Locke and his family, the giant panda keepers at the National Zoo, giant panda keepers from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong, Sichuan province, and Friends of the National Zoo each submitted a choice of their own for the cub.

The National Zoo now houses Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, a pair of giant pandas on loan from China. Mei Xiang in 2005 gave birth to her first cub Tai Shan, which now lives in China, and also gave birth to another female cub in September 2012, which died a week later due to liver failure caused by lung problems. Mei Xiang gave birth to a female cub on August 23 this year.

There are currently 15 giant pandas living in four cities across the U.S. under the Giant Panda Cooperative Research and Breeding Agreement between China and the United States.