Many people have thought up names for kittens--but few have had the opportunity to name a lion.
Starting on February 21, 2013, Washington State residents will get a chance to do just that! Two of Woodland Park Zoo's four new lion cubs will be dubbed by the winner of a naming contest that will run from Thursday, February 21 to Friday, March 15, 2013.
The currently nameless pair of Krugeri lion cubs consists of one female and one male. But forget about naming them Leona and Leo. The zoo is seeking names from the Zulu or Sotho languages, both of which are spoken in the Krugeri lion's range in South Africa.
As the zoo's press release notes, "With two cubs to name, there are two chances to win!" Thus there are two grand-prize packages, each of which include the following:
- · A private viewing for five at the lion exhibit with a keeper
- · One-year annual Woodland Park Zoo family membership
- · A ZooParent lion cub adoption
- · A framed photograph of the newly named lion cub
- · A $100 gift card to Play It Again Sports, Seattle
Please follow these rules in order to enter the contest.
- Research words or names in the African languages of Zulu or Sotho. Select two names, one for the male cub and one for the female cub.
- Visit zoo.org/namethecubs to submit your entry. Or, pick up a ballot at the zoo (at the ZooStores or in Zoomazium) and mail to Woodland Park Zoo, ATTN: Name the Cubs, 601 N. 59th Street, Seattle, WA 98103.
3. The contest opens Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. PST and closes Friday, March 15, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. PST.
What happens next? A judging panel made up of zoo staff will select the cubs’ names from all eligible entries.
More About the Cubs and African Lions
The four lion cubs were born on November 8, 2012, to 3-year-old lioness Adia. They form her first litter. The new family made their debut on exhibit on Saturday, February 16, 2013.
Zoo visitors can typically view Adia and her cubs from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. daily, weather permitting, in the lion shelter located in the African Savanna.
African lions are such a staple in wildlife documentaries, fables and legends, and images of Africa that it's hard to believe they could ever become an endangered species.
Yet the African lion is the only big cat not protected under the Endangered Species Act--despite the fact that there may be as few as 32,000 African lions remaining in the wild. According to a 2012 article in Scientific American, "African lion populations have declined by about 50 percent over the past three decades. Current estimates put the total number of the big cats at fewer than 35,000."
Threats to this seemingly impervious animal, long heralded as the "king of beasts," include habitat loss, trade in "bushmeat," disease, conflict with humans tending livestock in lion country, and poaching for body parts that are used in potions and products that purport to cure diseases. Trophy hunting also takes a toll, as the killing of a male lion in a pride has a domino effect because it sets the scene for the takeover of the pride by another male, which kill young cubs fathered by the previous male.
Woodland Park Zoo currently supports the Ruaha Carnivore Project, which works to develop conservation strategies in Tanzania for a variety of large carnivores including lions. This effort includes working with local communities in Tanzania. Find out more here (scroll about a third of the way down the page).