Zoo begins elephant naming contest

Zoo begins elephant naming contest
A one day old Asian elephant calf in the elephant maternity ward with her mother Rose-Tu at the Oregon Zoo. © Oregon Zoo / photo by Michael Durham

PORTLAND, Ore. – Rose-Tu’s baby elephant needs a name, and you can help make the decision.

Oregon Zoo elephant keepers are asking the public to pick their favorite of five names for the week-old elephant calf:

  • Jaidee (Thai for “good-hearted”) [pronounced JI-dee]
  • Sirikit (name for Thai royalty, the literal meaning is “glorious”) [pronounced sear-ree-keet]
  • Rakhi (Sanskrit for “love/bond between siblings”) [pronounced Rah-kee]
  • Lily (following the flower theme of mom’s name, Rose-Tu, or Rose for short)
  • Siddhi (Sanskrit for “perfection”; wife of Ganesha) [pronounced sid-Hee]

Voters can pick their favorite on the Oregon Zoo’s website.

Votes will be accepted through Sunday, Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. The zoo will announce the winning name on Monday, Dec. 10.

“The outpouring support for the zoo and its newest resident has been incredible,” said zoo director Kim Smith. “Rose-Tu and her calf are doing well. They’re bonding and comfortable with each other. Now it’s time to give the calf a name that suits her.”

Smith said all signs point to a strong bond between mother and baby.

“Our keepers and veterinary staff have put an extraordinary amount of work and care into helping Rose-Tu bring her baby into the world,” Smith said. “The time spent training and preparing has paid off, and the outcome is exactly the one we’d hoped for: Rose is safe and healthy, and she has a beautiful newborn calf. Now that the baby’s here, we’re all excited to watch her bond with Rose-Tu and take her place in the herd.”