In an effort to upstage Election Day, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo announced yesterday that the name of the new female giant panda cub is being put to a vote.
There are five Mandarin names to choose from, nominated by “U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke and family, PRC Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai, National Zoo giant panda keepers, Wolong giant panda keepers (where she will move when she turns four years old) and the Friends of the National Zoo.”
Here they are:
+Bao Bao — “precious, treasure”
+Ling Hua — “darling, delicate flower”
+Long Yun — a combination of “dragon” and “charming,” intended as good luck for U.S.-China panda relations
+Mulan — a fifth-century Chinese warrior, also “magnolia”
+Zhen Bao — “treasure, valuable”
I find it hard to resist reduplicant names (a word I only learned so I could write it here), so Bao Bao ranks pretty high for me. But I suspect Mulan could have broad appeal, seeing as it’s the name of a Disney “princess.”
You can vote here until Nov. 22. The winning name will be announced Dec. 1.