The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell is inviting the public to help choose a name for the polar bear cub born this winter.
Participants can select their favorite of four possible names online at ColumbusZoo.org/NameTheCub.
The Columbus Zoo’s animal care staff selected the following finalists:
• Desna, an Inuit name meaning “boss.”
• Kaya, a native American name meaning “little but wise.”
• Nora, a blending of the cub’s parents’ names: Nanuq and Aurora.
• Sakari, an Inuit name meaning “sweet.”
Participants can vote once every 24 hours until midnight Feb. 3, and the name with the most votes will be revealed Feb. 5.
“This rare birth is special not just for the Columbus Zoo community, but for people around the globe. For that reason, we wanted to invite all of this cub’s fans to be a part of her identity,” said Tom Stalf, president and CEO of the Columbus Zoo. “We also hope that this effort raises awareness and support of the polar bear species in the wild, the population of which is increasingly threatened.”
Polar bears have one of the lowest reproductive rates of any mammal. Only about half of all polar bears survive their first few weeks. Unfortunately, such was the case for the cub’s twin, who died shortly after it was born.
The remaining cub, a female bear born on Nov. 6, is growing up fast, zoo officials say. She has been hand-reared by expert keepers at the zoo hospital’s intensive care unit after her mom, Aurora, began leaving the vulnerable cub for extended periods of time. The cub, who weighed about one pound at birth, has since grown to weigh nearly 14 pounds. She is now 20.5 inches from her nose to the tip of her tail and is currently learning how to walk.
The cub is not yet available for public view during this fragile time, officials said.
The Columbus Zoo is dedicated to conserving polar bear populations in the wild, and is recognized as an “Arctic Ambassador” by Polar Bears International, zoo officials said.
Information for this story was provided by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell.