Zoo opens contest to name red panda cubs


UTICA — Since July, the Utica Zoo’s newborn red panda cubs have been seen by millions of people online and visited by thousands of local residents in person on International Red Panda Day in September.

Now the community will get a chance to help name the cubs.

The one male and one female cub have three potential sets of names — Kai and Lienna, Yingtao and Xiao Mei, and Xiabo and Mei Lin. Voters can cast their ballots online at UticaZoo.org/redpandanamecontest for as little as a $1 donation to the Zoo.

For every dollar donated, a vote will be recorded. All proceeds from the naming contest will be donated to the Red Panda Network to support their conservation work being done to save Red Pandas from extinction.

All donations will be processed via PayPal for security, the zoo announcement added.

“The cubs have been stars since they were born so we wanted to have the community be involved in naming them,” said Mark Simon, marketing coordinator at the Utica Zoo. “Our keepers did a ton of research into Chinese names and found some really beautiful names that correspond nicely with their ‘animal personalities’ so we are excited to offer these name options to the public. Plus, it is a great way to help support the animals and our mission here at the Zoo. Red pandas are endangered animals and with the support of our community, we can help in the fight against extinction.”

The voting window will be open for two weeks and the winning names will be announced on Nov. 20. The cubs are now able to explore their exhibit space and can be seen on exhibit at select times throughout the day.


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