The newest giant panda cub in the United States now has a name. Officials at Zoo Atlanta named the 100-day-old panda Mei Lan (May-lan), a Mandarin Chinese name that means Atlanta beauty. A 100-Day Naming Ceremony is held for panda cubs, a Chinese tradition celebrating the 100-day mark because panda cubs have a high mortality rate.

The name was chosen by those who voted in an online poll. It garnered 53,000 votes, or 22 percent, beating nine other choices. The second place name was Xiao Tao, meaning “little peach”, which received 19 percent of the vote. Coming in third was Mei Tao, or “beautiful peach”, with 13 percent of the vote.

Other name options reflected where the cub is from, such as Cheng Ya, which means “Pretty Atlanta girl from Chengdu”, and Chang Jiang, which means “Yangtze River.”

Dennis Kelly, president and CEO of Zoo Atlanta, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he’s excited about the cub’s name.

“It’s a perfect fit for the animal,” Kelly said. “It brings out both the best in Chinese culture and the culture of the south.”

The naming ceremony was held today at Zoo Atlanta and was attended by Chinese dignitaries, state and local officials, and hundreds of spectators. It included dancing girls, cheering people and red banners.

Mei Lan’s parents are Lun Lun and Yang Yang, who are in Atlanta on a 10-year loan. The 10 final choices for names were submitted by Atlanta media outlets, the zoo, China and the Panda Express restaurant chain. Mei Lan was submitted by WSB-TV.
[Edited by Simon – Font change]

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