San Diego Zoo’s panda gets a name

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Photo from ellenm1 via Flickr

Photo from ellenm1 via Flickr

Panda-monium hit the San Diego Zoo as people anxiously awaited the name of the new panda cub. And after 104 days of waiting, the famous panda cub is finally named!

Yun Zi (YUHN’-zih), or “Son of Cloud” in Chinese, is the name that San Diego Zoo managers chose among 6,331 suggestions from panda fans all around the world. Yun Zi, who was born at 4 ounces but now weighs more than 10 pounds, was named after his mother, Bai Yun, or “White Cloud”, who arrived at the zoo in 1996. He is the fifth cub born to his mother.

Yun Zi was born on August 5, but wasn’t named for 100 days as this is the Chinese tradition. The name was announced at a ceremony attended by hundreds of panda fans at the Zoo’s Hunte Ampitheater. Dr. Ron Swaisgood, co-head of the Zoo’s Giant Panda Conservation Unit, presented the history of the giant panda at the San Diego Zoo, as well as the story of Bai Yun and an update on the newest panda Yun Zi.

Photo from ellenm1 via Flickr

Photo from ellenm1 via FlickrZi.

These endangered species are very poor breeders, even in the wild where there are only 1600. There are about 200 in captivity. There are only 14 giant pandas in the United States, and five of them are at the San Diego Zoo. Yun Zi is the 14th.

Other names that were considered include “Little Dragon” (which was the 2nd most popular), “Blissful San Diego”, “Extraordinary Bear”, and “Eternally Blessed”. These names, including “Son of Cloud”, were posted on a four-day poll on the zoo’s website that attracted more than 17,500 voters.

The “panda cam” that is featured on the zoo’s website allows viewers to see the cub in a zoo den. At one point the site was so popular that it briefly crashed.

Check out the adorable Yun Zi here.

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