Syracuse zoo announces finalists in snow leopard naming contest

Snow Leopard cubs


Rosamond Gifford Zoo

has picked the finalists in its snow leopard naming contest for the cubs born earlier this month.

The public was invited to submit a set of suggested names for the two cubs. In all, the zoo received 563 name suggestions for the cubs.

You can vote for your favorite name by

clicking here

. Facebook fans can place an additional vote through a poll on the zoo's

Facebook page

. All votes must be received by 4:00 p.m. on September 1.

The finalists are:

Rambu & Dongari

Submitted: by Ann Bauer, 22, of Akron, Ohio & Julie Overacker, 49, of Central Square, N.Y.

Meaning: Rambu means "strong" in Sherpa, the language of the people who inhabit the Nepalese Himalayan mountains. Dongari is a mountain pass in Nepal.

Sabu & Raj

Submitted: by Maria Padalino, 5, of Liverpool, N.Y.

Meaning: Sabu is Tibetan for "snow leopard." I also like the name Sabu because it ends with "boo" and my zoo has the best Zoo Boo! Raj is Indian for "king" or "rule." I think the snow leopard is going to grow up and be big, just like a king.

Viktor & Tikhon

Submitted by: Holly Enlow, 23, of Lexington, Ky. & Deborah Noble, 20, of Tully, N.Y.

Meaning: Viktor is a name of Russian origin, meaning "one who conquers". In order for snow leopards to survive in the harsh conditions in which they are found, they must "conquer" their environment. Tikhon is another Russian name, meaning "lucky". These cubs are incredibly lucky to have been born into such a good environment where they will be cared for and protected.

Taji & Kaza

Submitted by: Jennifer Noble, 29, of Syracuse, N.Y.

Meaning: Snow leopards are found in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Both brothers would be named after their countries of origin!

Bajen & Ramil

Submitted by: Julianna Buchmann, 10, of Weedsport, N.Y. & Karen Dunford, 40, of Nedrow, N.Y.

Meaning: Bajen is a Russian boy's name that means "long waited". Since it has been 14 years since a baby snow leopard has been born at the zoo, I think this beautiful snow leopard is indeed "long waited". Ramil is a name used in Uzbekistan and it is a nice name for a snow leopard.