Ontario zoo launches online campaign to name baby lions

A Greater Toronto Area zoo has launched an online crowdsourcing campaign to name two of its newborn beasts.

Cubs at Bowmanville Zoo born to mother Kaya on July 6

The Bowmanville Zoo has launched an online campaign to name two of its lion cubs that were born on July 6, 2014. (Bowmanville Zoo/Facebook)

Blessed with a litter of baby lions, a Greater Toronto Area zoo has launched an online crowdsourcing campaign to name two of its newborn beasts.

The Bowmanville Zoo, located about 75 kilometres east of Toronto, welcomed four male cubs on July 6. They were born to mother Kaya, a long-time resident of the zoo.

Zoo officials say they have named two of the baby lions – Freeda and Congo – but have had trouble coming up with fitting monikers for the remaining two.

"These adorable cubs are stealing the hearts of everyone at the zoo, but staff members are stumped,” spokesperson Carrie Shibinsky wrote in a Thursday press release. “They don’t know what to call them!"

So what has the Bowmanville Zoo, the oldest private zoo in Canada, decided to do? Like any web-savvy wildlife refuge, it has turned to the internet to finish the job. The zoo is inviting animal lovers to submit their suggestions via email to lioncubnames@bowmanvillezoo.com.

The contributor who comes up with the winning name will win an “exclusive cub encounter including a photo shoot with the cubs that we’ll post on our Facebook page for the whole world to see.”

To help guide cub-naming process, the zoo has offered up short personality profiles of the two lions in questions.

  • The first cub "is very loving and always cuddling with his litter mates. He’s happiest when he’s running around in the grass and exploring.” He has darker spots than his siblings, which makes him stand out from the crowd. He loves the camera and will pose for anyone who wants to take his photo."
  • The second "takes after his mother, Kaya, who has been a cherished part of the Bowmanville. He is very feisty and often heads out on adventures all by himself. He has beautiful blue-green eyes, but is a bit shy about showing them off to the camera."

The contest is scheduled to wrap up by the end of Monday. And the zoo says the winning names will be announced on Thursday, July 24 on its Facebook page.

Anyone who enters the contest gets a free kid’s pass to the zoo (for children under 12) and a discount coupon for a photo with one of the cubs.