Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is buzzing about its newborn African elephant born July 29 and her big sister, Mpumi, 7 months old.
The zoo’s elephant care team has selected several words of Swahili origin starting with the letter M in honor of mother elephant, Matjeka. The two that receive the highest number of votes through Friday, Aug. 16, will become the finalists.
On Monday, Aug. 19, Matjeka and the baby will choose from the two names during a special enrichment, declaring the winner.
Here are the possible names, in alphabetical order:
- Maswane -- “infant”
- Mahlatsi -- “forest or field”
- Mavi -- “voices”
- Memeta -- “shout”
- Mngani -- “friend”
Two voters will be selected at random to represent the finalist names. Both will receive a Pachyderm Prize Package valued at more than $300, which will include a family four-pack of zoo admission tickets, a $200 Living Social gift certificate and two plush elephants.
The newborn is the first African elephant calf born in 2013 in the population managed by AZA-accredited zoos and wildlife centers in North America, the second born at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo in the last eight months.
Tampa’s Zoo is among a group of 41 wildlife institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that manage African elephants. The African Elephant Species Survival Plan is designed to maintain a healthy, self-sustaining population that is genetically diverse and demographically stable.