National

'Saihin' wins out in Wakayama zoo's competition to name giant panda cub

Kyodo

A female giant panda born at a zoo in Wakayama Prefecture has been named Saihin, the zoo announced Monday.

The Adventure World amusement park selected the name for the 4-month-old, 75-centimeter-long cub weighing over 6 kg from about 120,000 suggestions solicited from the public.

The zoo short-listed four names from the submissions, and then accepted votes between Nov. 22 and Dec. 8 at the zoo and online.

Saihin won the largest number of votes, at 35,858.

In Japanese the character pronounced sai means bright and vivid while hin is a reading of the second character of the local town’s name Shirahama, where the park is located, a spokeswoman at the zoo said.

About 400 fans attended a ceremony at the zoo to announce the name.

“I hope the cub will grow up well and make everyone smile,” said Kenji Takai, 47, of Izumiotsu, Osaka Prefecture, who attended the event with his family.

When the cub was born on Aug. 14 to mother Rauhin, 18, and father Eimei, 26, she weighed only 75 grams, becoming the smallest among the pandas born at the facility.

The cub started walking earlier this month, according to the zoo.

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