going deeper

National zoo looking for names for four cheetah cubs

By: Stacey
Stacey's picture

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is asking the public to help name the litter of four cheetah cubs born April 8 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia. The births were streamed live on the Zoo’s new cheetah webcam, and virtual viewers have been watching them grow ever since. Keepers currently identify each cub by a small shave mark on their left shoulder (male), right hip (female), left hip (male) and base of the tail (male). Voters can select their favorite names from May 22 to May 26 on the Zoo’s website.  

The names were selected from a list submitted to SCBI’s cheetah animal care team by staff from across the Zoo, SCBI and Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ), the Zoo’s membership organization. There are three possible name choices for the female cub and five choices for the three male cubs. The names that receive the most votes will be bestowed on the cubs. Keepers will assign the winning names to the individual animals. The winning names will be announced May 27.

The name choices for the female cub are:

  • Amabala: Zulu for “spots”
  • Vivace: A musical term meaning short, lively and brisk
  • Iambe: One of the two daughters of the mountain nymph, Echo, in Greek mythology

The name choices for the three male cubs are:

  • Jabari: Swahili for “fearless” or “brave one”
  • Hasani: Swahili for “handsome”
  • Phoenix: A mythical bird associated with the sun that regenerates or is otherwise born again from its own ashes
  • Erindi: A protected reserve in Namibia where many cheetahs are re-released.
  • Tolbo: Mongolian for “spot”

The cubs were born to first-time mom, 5-year-old Echo and sired by 4-year-old Scott. Staff have been closely monitoring Echo and her cubs via the webcam. Keepers approached the cubs for the first time April 14. Less than a week later, the cubs were sexed and weighed. The cubs had their first vet exam May 20. Follow #CheetahCubdates on the Zoo’s FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up-to-date on cheetah cub milestones.