Portland – The Oregon Zoo announced the names of their three 6-week-old lion cubs Thursday.
After a public naming process, Zoo officials tallied votes from more than 15,000 participants and the three cubs will now go by the names Kamali, Zalika and Angalia. The Oregon Zoo released the following statement:
The zoo’s lion keepers had selected two possible names for each cub and last week invited the public to vote for their favorites via the zoo website. Until all the votes were in, zoo staffers had been referring to the cubs by the last digit of numbers assigned to them as part of the International Species Information System. Smallest to largest, they were Nos. 7, 8 and 9.
Kamali — previously known as cub No. 7 or sometimes Little Bit — is the smallest of the litter. Her new name, which comes from the Shona people of Zimbabwe and surrounding nations, denotes a spirit said to protect babies from death. Kamali faced some health issues last month and was hospitalized for nine days. Although she’s doing much better now, she remains significantly smaller than her two sisters.
Zalika, formerly cub No. 8, is the “middle cub” — not the biggest, not the smallest. Keepers say this sister is known for her mild temperament; her name, Swahili for “well-born,” is a nod to the cubs’ father, Zawadi Mungu, who is said to have a similarly sweet demeanor.
Angalia, aka cub No. 9, is the largest and most “outspoken” of the young trio, according to keepers. She had previously been nicknamed Feisty, and her new name — Swahili for “look out” or “be careful” — seems apt: Keepers say Angalia is the most likely of the trio to pounce on her sisters or swat at the tuft of her mom’s tail.
The Zoo also stated that the cubs ventured out of their den for the first time this week. They were born on Sept 7. and are part of the zoo’s breeding program. Their parents are Zawadi and Neka.