The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) is asking for the public’s help to name one female and two male black-footed ferret kits it is housing.
The ferrets were born on May 19 at SCBI in Front Royal, Virginia. Their parents are three-year-old Potpie, a third-time mother, and one-year-old father Daly.
The cute trio can be viewed through the “Black-Footed Ferret Webcam” on the National Zoo’s website, which is one of five live animal webcams at the facility.
“This September marks the 40th anniversary of the discovery of a small population of black-footed ferrets, whom we thought were extinct at that time,” said Will Pitt, acting deputy director of the National Zoo. “This species has made a remarkable recovery thanks to the power of collaborative conservation science and animal husbandry. I am thrilled we can honor this milestone and success by inviting our fans to help name Potpie’s kits.”
Here are the name choices for the female kit:
- Americana: Many prairie species’ scientific names include americana
- Aster: A purple flower native to the American prairie
- Prairie Rose: A species of rose native to central North America
The name choices for the male ferret offered by the National Zoo members are:
- Albus: In honor of the pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhychus albus), an endangered fish
- Cupido: In honor of the greater prairie chicken (Tympanuchus cupido)
- Swifty: In honor of the swift fox
The name for the male kit named by Zoo Guardians players are:
- Aspen: Short for “quaking aspen”—a plant native to the American prairie
- Cottonwood: A plant native to the American prairie
- Falco: In honor of the prairie falcon (Falco mexicanus)
The nine potential names were selected to reflect black-footed ferrets’ significance as a distinctly North American species.
The public will be able to vote for three names from Tuesday, July 20, at 10 am through Sunday, July 25.
Voting to name the female kit will be hosted on the Zoo’s website, one of the male ferrets will be named by the Zoo members via an e-newsletter poll and the other male will be named through the Zoo’s educational mobile game, Zoo Guardians, which can be downloaded for free on Apple and Android devices. The poll will be located in players’ mailbox in the game.
The Zoo will announce the winning names on July 27.