Now, a Chance to Name the Maryland Zoo’s Two Grizzly Cubs

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Photo by Jeffrey F. Bill, Courtesy of Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Remember those two furry beasts recently taken in by the Maryland Zoo in Druid Hill Park? The zoo is now offering the public a chance to name them.

A quick recap of how grizzly cubs one and two arrived in Baltimore: Wildlife specialists spotted them without their mother on tribal lands in Montana. When they determined one was failing to survive in the wild after several days, they rescued them. They later found one of them had been shot, the Maryland Zoo said in a previous release.

It was unusual to find six-month-old cubs parentless in the wild, experts said. Several weeks later, they found the cubs’ mother suffering from gunshot wounds. For humane reasons, she was euthanized.

When officials in Montana put out a call for adoption for the abandoned cubs, the Maryland Zoo responded. It took some time and waiting out some rough weather, but Maryland Zoo officials traveled out there and arranged for the bears’ relocation.

Now, the zoo has its first-ever grizzly cubs. With a new home and even a habitat sponsorship from the Owings Mills-based Garrison Forest School, all the young female bears need now are names.

Here are the options being offered by Maryland Zoo staff, with explanations:

  • Casper and Helen, honoring the benefactor who paid for their transport from Montana to Baltimore;
  • Salish and Kootenai, namesakes for the two Native American tribes of the Flathead Reservation, on whose land the cubs were found;
  • Nova and Nita, translated from “chasing butterflies” and “bear” in various Native American languages, according to the zoo;
  • Maple and Juniper, two tree species in North America;
  • and Iris and Violet, two types of flowers.

Just last month, the zoo named its first newborn giraffe in 20 years “Willow” after leaving it up to a vote from the public. She’s doing well so far and is already taking visitors.

Maryland Zoo spokeswoman Jane Ballentine wrote in an email that the zoo has held six naming contests in the last nine years, including this one. Here’s the full list since 2008:

  • 2008: The first-ever elephant born at the zoo – Winning name: Samson
  • 2010: Two warthog piglets – Winning names: Cecil and Kirby
  • 2013: Two lion cubs – Winning names: Luke and Leia
  • 2014: A rehabilitated bald eagle taken in by the zoo – Winning name: Vega
  • 2017: A newborn giraffe – Winning name: Willow
  • 2017: Grizzly cubs, by way of Montana – Winning name: ???

The contest for the grizzlies is open until Wednesday, April 5. The zoo is taking votes online here.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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