WASHINGTON (CNN) – After a torrid, mud-drenched and bamboo-shoot-filled campaign, all the votes have been counted and the fluffiest member of the National Zoo elite has a name.
After three weeks of voting, the Smithsonian National unveiled the name of the newly christened giant panda cub: Bao Bao.
The public voted on the name via Smithsonian.com. Voting opened on November 5 and closed November 22.
Voters chose from five Mandarin Chinese names:
· “Bao Bao (宝宝) – precious, treasure. (bow-BOW)”
· “Ling Hua (玲花) – darling, delicate flower. (ling-HWA)”
· “Long Yun (龙韵) – long is the Chinese symbol of the dragon, yun means charming. Combined this represents a sign of luck for panda cooperation between China and the U.S. (long-YOON)”
· “Mulan (木兰) – a legendary young woman, a smart and brave Chinese warrior from the fifth century; it also means magnolia flower in Chinese. (moo-LAHN)”
· “Zhen Bao (珍宝) – treasure, valuable. (jen-BAO)”
The potential names were submitted by China’s ambassador to the United States, the U.S. ambassador to China, panda keepers at the National Zoo and their Chinese counterparts, and Friends of the National Zoo.
The next big step for baby Bao Bao: Making her public debut sometime next year.
No word on when Newt Gingrich, known for his fondness for pandas, will visit the newest member of the cuddly caucus.