The lion cub at Madison's Henry Vilas Zoo is nameless no more. From here forward, he shall be called Leo Pold, which earned a roar of approval in voting by the public.
The name was chosen from a list of five finalists. Leo Pold received the lion's share of the 9,886 votes cast online and at the zoo with 4,062, besting runner-up Amari, which had 2,888 votes. Jibini, Enzi and Karne also were on the list of choices, which had been narrowed from hundreds of suggestions sent in by area children.
The winning name was submitted by Cole Johnson, 4, of Fitchburg, who wins the naming contest's $250 savings bond prize. The name is a tribute to Aldo Leopold, the late naturalist with Wisconsin ties, while also playing on the association of "Leo" with a lion.
Cole said he has a fondness for lions, having once "danced with one" (a mascot) at a Vilas Zoo fundraiser. When asked what he considered his favorite zoo animal, though, he was diplomatic: "All of them," he said.
Anna Reynolds, associate director for Friends of the Zoo, said the group was pleased to have so many people submit names for the lion-naming contest and to vote on the finalists.
"It was great to see all the enthusiasm from the community," she said. "And that's really what it's all about, getting the community involvement and also educating kids on what our mission is here - which is keeping these species alive."
Because of recent cool weather, it might be a little while before the public gets its first glimpse of Leo Pold. He will get outside with his mother, Vilas, once temperatures stay more consistently warm, zoo officials said.
This cub represents hope for the survival of its species. This little lion cub, one day, will start its own family and contribute to the conservation of its species.
Your donation can help us to care for this beautiful cub and aid us in our mission to support African Lion survival efforts worldwide. It is gifts like yours that enable Henry Vilas Zoo to share such rare and remarkable animals with the community.
Please consider sharing in thist legacy with a gift to support your cub.
Welcome Your New Lion Cub at Henry Vilas Zoo!
Madison's Henry Vilas Zoo is excited to announce the birth of a rare African Lion Cub on Saturday, December 18th, 2010.
Born to proud parents, Henry and Vilas, the male cub doesn't have a name yet and weighs only about three pounds. The baby lion will nurse for about six months but will begin eating some solid food around three months of age. We expect that he wil be on exhibit in the spring.
The cub's parents, Henry and Vilas, arrived at Henry Vilas Zoo in June of 1997 from a sanctuary in the Kalahari region of Africa. This is their third birth - - their first was a single male cub in July of 2003, followed by a litter of five cubs (three males and two females) in October of 2004.
Lion Keeper Shane Elsinger reports that, "Vilas is an excellent mother, both cub and mother are doing well."
The lion cub is the second new animal at Dane County's Henry Vilas Zoo in just a couple of weeks. On December 1st, the Zoo welcomed Sha-Lei, a female red panda who came to Madison from the Edmonton Zoo as part of an international breeding program.
Zoo Director Jim Hubing said, "Henry Vilas Zoo is privileged to help sustain African Lion populations. Henry and Vilas' previous offspring have already had their own litters of lion cubs at other AZA zoos."The African Lion Species Survival Plan, managed by the Association of Zoo and Aquarium (AZA) supported this third breeding because their offspring are very valuable to the success of the Species Survival Plan. There are only 186 pedigreed African Lions in 58 AZA accredited zoos. Loss of habitat in both South and East Africa has endangered wild populations of lions.
"It is an honor for our Zoo to play a valuable role in the survival of these endangered species, like the African Lion," Acting County Executive Scott McDonell said.