The royal name game is over. Meet the blue-blooded quintet Zoya, Salya, Kimu, Ed and Jumbo — and their distant desi cousin Dona.
The Tata Steel Zoological Park on Sunday completed the much-awaited christening of the five pure-bred African lion cubs and a home-grown tiger cub at an elaborate ceremony in the presence of Dhalbhum divisional forest officer (DFO) Karma Zimpa Bhutia and other dignitaries from various walks of life.
The short — but very meaningful — names were chosen from an enormous pile of 4,200 names suggested by residents of Jamshedpur and other wildlife enthusiasts who visited the zoo since August 14, when entry forms were made available.
DFO Bhutia conceded that choosing names for the already famous five was no less than a Herculean task for him and the panel of judges that included the general manager of SBI’s XLRI branch N. Najid Mujtara and city-based artists Mukta Gupta, Biplab Roy, Uttam Mallik and Anup Sinha.
“It is not easy finalising six names from 700 applications each containing six suggestions. Through lucky draw, we first handpicked 36 names in six forms. Thus, we listed six choices for each cub and guests consulted to choose the best. Zookeepers will now make the cubs familiar with their names,” Bipul Chakrabarty, the zoo director, seconded Bhutia.
So, why particularly these names? Zoo officials said they were “simply the best” and suited each exotic animal. “We did not want flippant names like Suzuki or hackneyed ones like Simba. They are extraordinary creatures and deserved much more,” one of them said.
Hence, a female lion cub was named Zoya, derived from the Ukrainian word Zoe meaning life. Every female is indeed the fountain of life. Similarly, another lion cub is named Salya, the Hebrew word for princess. Kimu, a Japanese etymological derivative, offers the analysis for someone who is generous — a true royal trait.
On the other hand, the two male cubs Ed and Jumbo — brought along with the three females from Pretoria zoo in June — get their names from the Old English word meaning happy and the indigenously African connotation for big, respectively.
And it goes without saying that the zoo-bred tiger cub, Dona, is a majestic beauty like her parents Shanti and Raghav.
While Zoya and Dona have been named by Munmun Sarkar of Uliyan, Kadma, Ed and Kimu now owe their unique identity to Apurva Kumari, also from Kadma. Jumbo was a suggestion from Shresht Parashar of Bagbera Colony, while Ranjit Kumar, a student of College of Engineering and Technology, named Salya.
The zoo authorities have decided to send acknowledgement letters to the four and offer them free family passes for a year. “The idea is to build a bonhomie between visitors and our inmates. We are like one big family,” said Chakrabarty.
Sunday’s christening also marked the end of the Wildlife Week Celebrations at Tata zoo and witnessed a sit-and-draw competition for children. Quiz, debate, a fancy dress competition and a rally were also part of the week-long programmes.
In his address, DFO Bhutia urged parents to bring up their children as conservationists. “It takes thousands of rupees to buy your child a video game or a mobile phone, but try this. Crush a banana in wine and see how it brings colourful butterflies to your doorstep. Motivate children to take the path of conservation. Let them understand nature,” he said.