SD Zoo asks for panda cub name suggestions

Male giant panda cub is sixth for mom Bai Yun

SAN DIEGO - Starting Monday, the San Diego Zoo will be accepting name suggestions for the giant panda cub born there this summer.

The cub, a male, was born on July 29 to Bai Yun. He is her sixth offspring and her fifth with male panda Gao Gao.   Bai Yun means "white cloud," and Gao Gao means "big big."

Naming suggestions for the 4-pound cub will be collected via the zoo's website, sandiegozoo.org. All submissions must be in Chinese, with an explanation of their significance.

China loans giant pandas to U.S. zoos for research purposes. The species is considered critically endangered, with an estimated 1,600 of the bamboo- eating bears left in the wild.

The last cub born at the San Diego Zoo -- Yun Zi, who was born to Bai Yun on Aug. 5, 2009 -- was also a male. Yun Zi means "son of cloud." The name was chosen by a public vote, beating out other suggestions that meant "blissful San Diego," "little dragon," "extraordinary bear," and "eternally blessed."

Bai Yun's other offspring were named Hua Mei or "China USA," Mei Sheng or "born in the USA or beautiful life," Su Lin or "a little bit of something very cute," and Zhen Zhen or "precious."

With past naming contests, the zoo has received thousands of submissions. Zoo officials cut the list down to a select few of their favorites, which are then voted on by the public. For Yun Zi's naming contest, more than 17,000 votes were cast.

In accordance with Chinese tradition, the winning name will not be announced until the cub is 100 days old.

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