Philadelphia Zoo Invites Public to Help Choose Name for Sloth Bear Cub

Philadelphia, PA – Philadelphia Zoo announced today it is enlisting the help of the public to choose a name for its new sloth bear cub. Selecting from a list of names developed by the cub’s keepers, voters can pick their favorite name for the infant.  Born on December 11th, the cub is doing well, growing rapidly, and has become quite adventurous since its outdoor debut in March, shared via Philly Zoo at 2- the Zoo’s new Facebook series. Voting begins on Thursday, April 16th at 3:00pm and will go through Thursday, April 23rd at 11:59pm.  Supporters can vote as many times as they wish, at

“There has been an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm around the birth of this cub, inside and outside the Zoo,” say Dr. Andy Baker, Philadelphia Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer. “Because of the excitement and support, we are asking our community to participate in helping choose a name. This birth is significant for the Zoo as well as the overall sloth bear population in the U.S., and highlights the wonderful animal care and other work happening at Philadelphia Zoo each and every day.” 
When creating the list of names keepers had a lot to consider including choosing names that are not gender-specific, are meaningful and fitting for the cub.  
At this stage, determining the sex of an infant sloth bear cub isn’t as easy as it sounds. Typically, keepers take a hands-off approach, leaving mom to care for the baby, unless there is a situation that warrants interference. This combined with current social distancing between staff and carnivores including bears has prevented keepers in confirming the sex of the cub. Best guess is that the cub is a “he”, but keepers are not committing yet! 
With sloth bears being native to the lowland forests of India, and Sri Lanka, the names chosen are from the Hindi language. Voters can choose from the names with meanings below:
· Keematee – Means Precious
· Rahi – Bringer of spring or traveler
· Kelani – A river in Sri Lanka means The Heavens
· Kali – A river in Nepal means Terrific

Sloth bears are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with populations declining dramatically in recent decades due to habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict and poaching. Philadelphia Zoo is home to three sloth bears in addition to the cub: 6-year-old dad Bhalu, 7-year-old mom Kayla and 13- year-old Balawat.                                                            
The launch of Philly Zoo at 2, the debut of the Sloth Bear Cub in March, and now the invite to help name the new baby are all ways Philadelphia Zoo is engaging the public during this time of crisis, and are bringing the Zoo experience into living rooms across the United States and around the globe. 
For more information on, or to donate to the SPRING BACK fund visit, Stay connected through Facebook: PhiladelphiaZoo; Instagram: @philadelphiazoo; Twitter: @phillyzoo.


Animals are on the move like never before at Philadelphia Zoo with Zoo360, a first-in-the-world system of see-through trails passing through treetops, crossing over pathways and connecting habitats, giving animals like amazing big cats, majestic primates and marvelous meerkats the opportunities to travel and explore. Visit our young western lowland gorillas, giraffes, hippos, white rhino, zebras, red pandas, Amur tigers and more at America’s first Zoo. Explore our 42-acre Victorian garden and enjoy award-winning exhibits like Big Cat Falls, PECO Primate Reserve, McNeil Avian Center and KidZooU, a wildlife academy that offers dynamic displays, rare breeds and hands-on experiences.  Philadelphia Zoo is the second highest ticketed attraction in Philadelphia, one of the region’s foremost conservation organizations and home to nearly 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered. By connecting people with wildlife, Philadelphia Zoo creates joyful discovery and inspires action for animals and habitats. The Zoo welcomed more than 1.25 million visitors last year. Philadelphia Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Philadelphia Zoo is a non-smoking facility.

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Kory Aversa
Aversa PR
215-840-9216 (mobile)

Dana Lombardo
Director of Communications
Philadelphia Zoo
3400 W. Girard Avenue
Philadelphia PA 19104
215.840.8150 (mobile)

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