Four Mandarin Chinese names were proposed to the public and a five-day window opened for choosing one. On Monday, after the public sent in just under 135,000 votes, according to the zoo, the name was announced.
Thus did the alluring cub abandon weeks of anonymity and join his many admiring fellow residents of Washington in having a name of his own.
Many may recall Shakespeare’s celebrated question: “What’s in a name?” Asked by the female title character in “Romeo and Juliet,” it suggests that a name is less significant than character.
But many of us may well find a message in a name alone. And if the cub’s name may not reveal personality, it suggests important aspects of his background.
The breeding of giant pandas is notoriously difficult; the cub’s mother, Mei Xiang, at the age of 22 is the oldest known to have successfully given birth in the United States. Hence the regard for her cub as a miracle, a distinctive creature among distinctive creatures.
And thus we may be pleased that in the 13th week since his Aug. 21 birth, he got a name — one to accompany him throughout his life and to help tell the world about his special story.