Oregon Zoo names baby elephant

Oregon Zoo names baby elephant

Credit: Oregon Zoo photo

Samudra stands near his mom, Rose-Tu.

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by By TERESA BLACKMAN, kgw.com Staff

KING5.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 2:57 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 21 at 11:29 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Oregon Zoo announced on Friday morning that the public had selected a name for the new sweetheart of the zoo -- the baby elephant.

The calf's name is "Samudra" or "Sam" for short.

The public chose the name after zookeepers gave them five options to vote on.

"We believe with the public's help we've succeeded in giving the calf a name that suits his personality," Mike Keele, the zoo's deputy director said Friday.

The zookeepers came up with the options after much research and discussion last week. Each of the names has special meaning and would reflect the heritage of the zoo's newest baby.

Then, zoo officials announced those five names and invited the public to vote online for their favorite through 5 p.m. Thursday.

Here are those five names:

1. Amul: Hindi for "priceless, of inestimable worth."

2. Bao: Chinese for "precious treasure."

3. Duc (rhymes with hook or look): Vietnamese for "good, moral, desire." Also is a portion of former Trail Blazer Kevin Duckworth's name, honoring the late basketball player.)

4. Hugo-Tu: This name honors the baby's mother, Rose-Tu, and maternal grandfather, Hugo. Hugo comes from the Germanic word for "mind, heart or spirit" and Tu is Vietnamese for "tree."

5. Samudra (nickname Sam): Hindi for "lord of the ocean." (The calf loves his baths!)

Samudra was the overwhelming favorite among the Oregon Zoo's online voters. Of 17,372 votes cast, Samudra received 6,102 or more than 35 percent. Hugo-Tu was the runner-up, receiving nearly 23 percent of the votes, while Bao came in third with around 17 percent. Duc earned 14 percent and Amul got 10 percent of the vote.

"Our mission is inspiring our community to create a better future for wildlife. The number of votes and the many e-mails show us just how inspired our community is by this calf," Keele said.

Another poll was also set up on kgw.com and online visitors chose "Samudra" in that poll as well.

Public very fond of baby elephant

Visitors flocked to the Oregon Zoo one week after the calf was born for a chance to see up close the latest addition to the zoo's pachyderm family.

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After the calf got a chance to bond with its mother and the elephant exhibits were "baby proofed" so he couldn't fit between the bars, the zoo announced public viewing hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Keepers cautioned that those hours were subject to change and also pointed out that baby elephants spent lots of time sleeping.

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The calf had a shakey start after his first-time mother initially reacted violently in the seconds after he was born on August 23rd and nearly trampled him. But he was bottle-fed by zookeepers and slowly reintroduced to Rose-Tu after her labor pains and stress level subsided.

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