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US zoo reveals possible names for panda cubs

October 3, 2013

ATLANTA (AP) — A U.S. zoo on Thursday revealed five sets of possible names for the twin giant panda cubs born there in July, and it is giving the public a chance to have a say by voting online.

The cubs were born at Zoo Atlanta, to 15-year-old Lun Lun, who was artificially inseminated in March. They are the fourth and fifth cubs born at the zoo to Lun Lun and her partner Yang Yang.

The possible names for the two male cubs are:

— Mei Lun and Mei Hua, meaning “Lun Lun’s twin cubs born in the U.S.;”

— Mei Lun and Mei Huan, which originates from a Chinese idiom that means “something indescribably beautiful and magnificent;”

— Tian Lun and Tian Le, a modification of a Chinese idiom meaning “joy of family life” or “family happiness;”

— Lan Tian and Bi Shui, meaning “blue sky and clear water;” and

— Da Lan and Xiao Lan meaning “bigger one and smaller one of Atlanta-born twins.”

The names were selected by staff at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China. Under a deal between China and the U.S., all giant pandas originally from China are only lent out to foreign zoos for scientific study for several years. They and any cubs they produce must all return to China eventually.

The winning names will be announced at a naming celebration on Oct. 23 when the panda cubs are 100 days old, in accordance with Chinese tradition.

Voting for the names will begin online next Wednesday through the website for ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

The cubs are in good health and weigh appropriate amounts for their age, said giant panda nursery keeper Amy Allagnon. They are slowly gaining more eyesight and hearing and can scoot around but can’t yet crawl or stand up on all four legs yet, she said.

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