SOURCE: Denver Zoo

Denver Zoo

October 19, 2015 18:01 ET

Denver Zoo Begins Final Round of Lion Naming Contest

Public Asked to Vote for Final Two Names for Cubs

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - October 19, 2015) - Denver Zoo has launched the final round of its contest to name two lion cubs born September 10. Since the first phase of the contest, zookeepers of Benson Predator Ridge selected their two, favorite names submitted by residents from each of the seven counties that comprise the Scientific Cultural & Facilities District (SCFD). The Zoo is leaving it up to the general public to choose from the remaining 14. Please note: this round of voting is not exclusive to SCFD residents.

The contest will run until next Wednesday, October 28, at noon, and is open to the general public. Those interested in participating must enter their submissions at Each participant is asked to vote for one boy name and one girl name, which do not need to be from the same county. The participants who submitted the two winning names will receive a behind-the-scenes tour of Benson Predator Ridge.

Results from the first round (boy name, girl name):

Adams: Rufaro, Chiku

Arapahoe: Hudson, Kamara

Boulder: Jasiri, Amani

Broomfield: Kiburi, Neema

Denver: Meru, Moremi

Douglas: Elbert, Copper

Jefferson: Kalu, Sira

The cubs, a male and a female, were born on the morning of Thursday, September 10 to lioness Neliah, and are currently with their mother behind the scenes in the Zoo’s Benson Predator Ridge exhibit. Zookeepers are monitoring the family and giving them space during this critical bonding period. They will remain off exhibit during this time.

Neliah arrived from Florida’s Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in November of last year. The 3-year-old joined the Zoo’s young lion pride, with male Sango and female Sabi, both also 3-years-old. Neliah was born at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens on June 30, 2012 and arrived at Denver Zoo through a recommendation of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. Sango, the Zoo’s only adult male lion, was born on July 28, 2012 at Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin, Texas, and arrived at Denver Zoo in 2013. The cubs are his first offspring, as well.

Lion cubs are born after a relatively short gestation period of between 100 and 110 days, and they come into the world with spotted coats and their eyes closed. Lionesses normally give birth to between two and four cubs. For the first two months, the cubs drink only their mother's milk and are fully weaned by the time they are seven months old.

Rules and Details of Denver Zoo’s Lion Cub Naming Contest

  • Denver Zoo is holding an online in which the general public is asked for vote for names for the Zoo’s recently born lion cubs, one male and one female.
  • Denver Zoo keepers chose their two favorites (one boy name, one girl name) from each of the 7 SCFD counties during the first round. Now, the public is asked to vote for one boy name and one girl name from the remaining 14.
  • Keepers selected their favorite names based on originality and creativity.
  • The second phase of the contest will run until Wednesday, October 21, at noon.
  • There will be two winners, and both people will be awarded a behind-the-scenes tour of Benson Predator Ridge and given $50 worth of merchandise from the Zoo’s Kibongi Market.
  • Both phases of the contest will be held via Facebook.
  • Please note it is free to enter this contest. No purchase is necessary.
  • If more than one contestant enters one of the winning names, both will receive prizes.

About Denver Zoo: Denver Zoo brings education alive, providing a unique learning experience that sparks an interest in the natural world for visitors and program participants alike. Home to 4,300 animals representing more than 600 species, the Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which assures the highest standards of animal care.

Denver Zoo serves two million visitors each year and 350,000 of those guests are provided free access. Denver Zoo’s Scholarship fund has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships to schools and families in the past five years. SCFD funding is critical to supporting and expanding these programs, as well supporting the care of 4,300 animals, many of which are endangered or threatened.

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Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Sean Andersen
    (720) 337-1418

    Scott Camp
    (720) 337-1604