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Panda Naming Ceremony

I hope you can come to my naming ceremony!

The votes are in and the decision is final: a name has been selected by you, our panda fans, for the cub born on July 29. From over 7,000 name suggestions submitted by panda lovers around the world, the list was narrowed to 6 choices for all to vote on. Nearly 35,000 votes were cast in the online naming poll! The winning name will be revealed in our traditional Panda Naming Ceremony on Tuesday, November 13, at 10 a.m. at the Zoo’s Hunte Amphitheater. It is free for all with Zoo admission.

The start of the ceremony will include a video montage of the cub’s exams, highlighting his extreme cuteness. Dignitaries from our Zoo and China will be on hand, and the co-head of our Giant Panda Team, Ron Swaisgood, will provide an overview of our panda program and the progress made over the years to help pandas, both in the wild and in managed-care settings. Ron is a great speaker and has been to China numerous times. He’s even tracked wild pandas and has the stories to prove it!

The grand finale happens, of course, when the cub’s name is revealed! The “little sausage” himself will not be in attendance, as he is not old enough to be taken out and about, but I’m sure his keepers will dash back after the ceremony to tell him his name. Can’t come? We will be providing a live UStream of the ceremony so you won’t miss a thing. Isn’t technology wonderful? Here’s the UStream link…

I’ve attended every one of the cub naming ceremonies we’ve had, and I’ll be at this one, too. I wouldn’t miss it! If you can come, please look for me and introduce yourself; I’ll be wearing a gold badge that says “Moderator” on it. My deputy moderator, Wendy, will be there with her badge on, too. We love to meet panda fans on such a happy occasion. And just like all of you, we can’t wait to find out what our cub’s name will be! Mark your calendar.

Debbie Andreen is a blog moderator for San Diego Zoo Global. Read her previous post, Elephant Antics.

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Panda Cub Receives Name

panda_naming_ceremonyThere was pandamonium at the San Diego Zoo as we prepared to finally reveal our 104-day-old giant panda cub’s name. For days people kept asking, “So what is his name?” Being one of a handful of people who knew the name at the close of the voting period, I simply smiled and said “You’ll have to wait until the naming ceremony.” I admit, it was a bit of a smug smile. You know the one…the one you can’t hold back when you have a secret that everyone wants to know.

So what is it? It was a close one. All five names could easily have been the one. We all know the little guy is an “extraordinary bear.” Those of us who live in San Diego would have loved to have him named after our beloved city, since it is quite blissful. As his personality finally begins to emerge, and this cub is finally showing that he, too, will be rambunctious, little dragon would have been fitting. But I think we are the ones that are “eternally blessed” for having been able to witness the birth of this rare bear, so this name wasn’t quite right for him, in my opinion.

In the end, the name that was bestowed upon this bear is one that pays tribute to an extraordinary mother, Bai Yun. Mama bear’s name means “white cloud.” And so, our little guy is from here on out to be called Yun Zi or “son of cloud.”

The Chinese name, Yun Zi, was revealed at a ceremony at the Zoo’s Hunte Amphitheater. Dr. Ron Swaisgood, co-head of the Zoo’s Giant Panda Conservation Unit, shared the history of the giant panda at the Zoo, from Bai Yun’s arrival in 1996, the birth of her five cubs here in San Diego, and an update on our newest panda.

We were pleased by the presence of the deputy consul general from the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles, Mr. Sun Weide, who spoke a few words about the partnership between the San Diego Zoo and our colleagues in China. Berit Durler, president of the Zoological Society of San Diego, thanked our guests for supporting our efforts in panda conservation.

It is because of the support that all of you have provided to us that we asked for you to be involved in naming our little guy. We received 6,331 names. Once we narrowed the names down to 5, we allowed just one vote per person or family at the same computer during the four-day voting period. We received 17,521 votes. That’s quite a commitment!

Here is the breakdown of the vote:
Yun Zi: son of cloud 28%
Xiao Long: little dragon 26%
Xiong Wei: extraordinary bear 20%
Yong Xiang: eternally blessed 14%
Fu Sheng: blissful San Diego 12%

Yadira Galindo is a senior public relations representative for the San Diego Zoo.

Note: A big day for Yun Zi, as he also had his 12th exam this morning. Son of Cloud weighed 13.2 pounds (5.98 kilograms). More images are available in our Panda Photo Gallery.
Here’s video of the exam and the naming ceremony…