Public chooses 'Lily' as name for Rose-Tu's new elephant calf

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by KGW Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on December 11, 2012 at 6:30 AM

PORTLAND -- The Oregon Zoo has announced the name of Rose-Tu's new elephant calf after the public got involved by casting their votes online.

Votes were accepted through Sunday, in a poll set up on the Oregon Zoo website and the top choice was -- drumroll here.... Lily!

Of the 50,764 votes submitted, Lily got 30,037, nearly 60 percent, said zoo spokesman Hova Najarian.

Jaidee was the runner-up, with 21 percent,  Rakhi was a distant third with a little more than 7 percent. Siddhi got 6.5 percent and Sirikit  close to 6 percent. Zookeepers had come up with the five names for the public to choose from, and then online voters got to narrow it down from there.

Here are the meanings for the five names selected for the public poll:

  • Jaidee (Thai for “good-hearted”)
  • Sirikit (name for Thai royalty, literal meaning is “glorious”)
  • Rakhi (Sanskrit for “love/bond between siblings”)
  • Lily (following the flower theme of mom’s name, Rose-Tu, or Rose for short)
  • Siddhi (Sanskrit for “perfection”; wife of Ganesha)

“The outpouring of support for the zoo and its newest resident has been incredible,” said Oregon Zoo director Kim Smith. “We received more than 50,000 votes on the zoo website, plus a ton of e-mails, calls and Facebook posts. This community is definitely inspired by Rose-Tu’s new calf.”

Latest updates: Rose-Tu zoo blog

Photos: Rose-Tu and her calf

Born at 300 pounds on November 30th, the female calf is healthy and active and getting along well with her mother and other members of the herd.

Raw video: Rose-Tu's calf

She is also eating and sleeping well, and seems to have quite a personality, according to Bob Lee, the zoo’s elephant curator.

“This calf’s definitely not shy,” Lee said. “When she and Samudra first met, she rushed up to him to touch trunks. Mom had to hold her back a little. She also made a big impression on her auntie Shine. Shine makes this cool chirping vocalization when she’s excited. As soon as she saw the calf, there was a lot of chirping going on.”

Zoo insists calf will stay in Portland

In the days following the calf's birth, questions arose whether she would remain at the Oregon Zoo.  She is owned by a company based in California that rents out some elephants for movies and special events.

The Oregon Zoo held a press conference and assured the public that the calf would not leave, despite their contract with Have Trunk Will Travel. The Calif. company also responded, releasing a statement which said it "has no intention of taking the calf."

More: Calif. company says it will not take calf from Oregon Zoo

The company said it supports the Oregon Zoo's elephant breeding program and the calf will remain a part of it, along with Tusko, the calf's father, which Have Trunk Will Travel also owns.

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