Members of the community were invited to enter the Rosamond Gifford Zoo's online naming contest to help select the name of a male Asian elephant born on May 12 to parents Mali and Doc.
The zoo received 1,396 name submissions from across the U.S. and Canada, and from as far away as Africa, Australia, Costa Rica and Germany.
In an effort to provide a name which reflects the native habitat of Asian elephants, a committee comprised of zoo staff carefully and thoughtfully selected a list of 5 choices from all entries received. Names were judged for creativity as well as overall appeal.
The top 5 finalists were:
The name Batu was submitted by Isabelle Perry, 9, of Oswego, N.Y. The name is of Central Asian origin and means "like his father." It can also mean "loyal." Perry will receive an Asian elephant Adopt an Animal package courtesy of Friends of the Zoo.
Batu can be viewed by the public at least twice a day with his mother, grandmother and aunties at the zoo's premier exhibit, Asian Elephant Preserve. He is usually out once mid-morning and again early afternoon, weather-permitting. If there is a threat of severe weather, Batu will not be on exhibit. Guests may inquire at ticket booth or with a staff member upon arrival.
A second elephant calf is expected later this summer.